Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Shifting Sands in Duncan

The sand is shifting down in Duncan, Oklahoma. The deadly tale of Chancey Allen Luna, Michael Dwayne Jones, and James Francis Edwards Jr. reached the courtroom during a preliminary hearing yesterday and things have changed from what we were initially told back in August.

The three teens were accused of shooting, Christopher Lane to death that month because they were bored, had a gun, and could. Lane, an Australian, was a catcher on the Oklahoma East Central University baseball team and was in town visiting his girl friend, Sarah Harper. He had gone out jogging and was shot in the back from a car Jones was allegedly driving.

Initially the local DA's office seemed to be negotiating with Jones and a plea deal appeared to be in the works for him. He is the one who reportedly told the cops he and his pals did it because they didn't have anything better to do.

All that began to change a couple of months later when Oklahoma City's daily paper, The Oklahoman, ran a story saying the DA had suddenly withdrawn the offer to Jones. At the same time it was also revealed someone in Duncan had shot a donkey to death the night before Lane was killed.

The Oklahoman reporter, Nolan Clay wrote in today's news it was Edwards who went onto the stand to give an account of the shooting and he is the one being offered a deal. According to the story Edwards claimed the three weren't sitting around a house when they first saw Lane, but in Jones' car at a stop light. In this version Luna and Jones had picked up Edwards to take him to the Stephens County courthouse so he could sign some papers. While en route, Edwards began to roll a joint which was a payment of sorts to his pals for the ride.

During the trip Edwards claimed he asked Jones if they'd shot the donkey and he admitted they had. Clay reports the animal had been found shot multiple times. Edwards testified he was in the front seat, Jones was driving, and Luna was in the back seat. He identified Luna as the shooter although he maintains he didn't know Luna was carrying a weapon until the moment the shot was fired. He also testified Jones swerved the car toward Lane immediately prior to the shooting, presumably to provide Luna with a better target.

Well, maybe--at that point things turned even weirder, which, given the nature of this gruesome episode, seems impossible. According to Clay's story, after the shooting, the three hot dogs drove to the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant so they could hide the piece under the hood of the car. Edwards testified at that point Luna looked at Jones and said, "I thought there were supposed to be blanks in the gun." Jones' response was, "Me too. Sorry."

Ah yes, the old, we thought the gun was loaded with blanks defense. Who knows, maybe they did, although they certainly knew it didn't hold any blanks when they shot the living shit out of that ass the night before.

After the hearing, Clay writes Luna's attorney told the press, "Our young man is innocent of premeditated murder." He added, "These young fellows thought there were blanks in the gun."

Indeed, the whole thing was just a harmless practical joke gone awry. The guys were simply trying to have fun and, after all, to paraphrase Cyndi Lauper, boys, just want to have fun.

Police still haven't found the weapon that was used in the murder. Clay reports Edwards is accused of calling a friend from the jail to tell him to make sure it was ditched it in parts unknown. Why someone looking for a deal with the DA would do that remains a bit fuzzy. But--as we've seen, there are a lot of blurred details at the moment.

Edwards will be charged as an accessory after the fact if he continues to testify against Jones and Luna. Although now, nothing seems a sure thing. The next appearance date for Luna and Jones is March 12th. Edwards isn't scheduled back into court until May.

It is brute cold here on the southern plains in more ways than one. Tragically, much of it doesn't have a thing to do with climate change.

It increasingly looks like civilization is nothing more than a myth. It is some strange word we came up with to make us feel better about ourselves. And--America is a terrible mistake, an experiment gone so horribly wrong it has the life expectancy and the historical significance of the Dodo bird.

If there are any questions, I'll be in the bar.


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