Much of the discussion of the Oklahoma shooting death of Christopher Lane, white, centers around race. According to Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford, white, Lane’s jogging route took him past a home where the 3 suspects in that shooting, were staying. http://duncanbanner.com/local/x865757598/Formal-charges-coming-in-shooting-death-of-Australian-man That may or may not be true. Anyway, at some point, the 3 got into a car and began driving. When they saw Lane, they decided to shoot. Lane’s race could have had something to do with his being the target; maybe this was a variation of the more traditional game of ‘polar bear hunting.‘ (Click on the link in that article, to “Thug Report.”) But I don’t think the race of the alleged perpetrators is the explanation at least with respect to why the Stephen’s County DA Jason Hicks, white, filed seemingly disparate criminal charges against the accused: James Francis Edward, Jr., black, passenger, front seat, 1st degree murder; Chancey Allen Luna, black/white, passenger, back seat, shooter, 1st degree murder; and Michael Dewayne Jones, white, driver, accessory after the fact.
Greta Susteren on FOXNews hosted a panel of attorneys, black and white, trying to figure out why Jones, who she identified was white; was only charged with being an accessory after the fact and not 1st degree murder. The lawyers all agreed that, strategically, a DA charging all 3 suspects with the maximum offense would be more likely to elicit a plea agreement from one of them, offering testimony against the other two in exchange for a reduced sentence. They said that even though Jones appears to be cooperating with authorities; they still would have charged him with 1st degree murder until the trial. Greta said the only possible way it made sense to her that Jones was charged with a lesser crime; was if he tried to thwart the shooting before it happened, for example, if he tried to steer the car away, or grabbed someone’s arm. One of her guests pointed out, Jones is the one who said, the shooting arose from boredom. I got the impression he meant to imply that, if Jones and the others wanted to kill someone, anyone, from the beginning then, contrary to Greta’s hypothetical scenario; he would still be as guilty. I suppose it all depends on the way the law is written; his attempt at any time before the killing to stop it might still result in a lesser charge. But what jumped out at me is Jones’ statement, ‘we did this because we were bored.’ Because it makes sense to me that he would tell this lie so as to cover up, at least initially, the real reason they were on the road in the first place.
I think Lane ended up dead because the 3 were on their way to kill Christopher Johnson and he happened to appear, first.
After the shooting, they got rid of the .22 caliber gun that was the murder weapon. http://duncanbanner.com/x865760051/Murder-weapon-still-missing Then, they drove to the home of their planned target, Christopher Johnson.
See how close the scene of the Lane shooting is to Johnson’s house?
James Johnson, black, was washing his truck in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church, across the street from the house where his son, Christopher (black) lived with his mother, Sheila Haynes, black, when he got a call from Chris that the 3 teens were in a car outside the house and were going to kill him for refusing to join their gang. Mr. Johnson, knowing nothing about the shooting that had occurred a few hours earlier, called “911.” Police, already looking for the car involved in the earlier shooting based on a witness description; arrived within minutes, and apprehended the suspects. http://www.smh.com.au/world/chris-lane-shooting-a-gang-initiation-says-father-who-called-police-20130822-2sdud.html They were sitting in the black Ford Focus; a dismantled shotgun was found but no .22. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397100/Australian-student-Chris-Lane-shot-dead-US-3-teenagers-fun-it.html
So, what were they going to use to kill Johnson?
I think authorities charged Jones with being an accessory after the fact because they believe he had no idea his compatriots would shoot Lane when all 3 set out to kill Johnson, using the .22. Once they shot Lane, they had to get rid of that gun. Jones helped them. Eventually, they resumed their murderous plan, now having to use alternative means to carry it out. Because since they hadn’t anticipated they would encounter Lane and spontaneously decide to use the .22 to shoot him; they hadn’t brought along another weapon. But so far, the only person who has focused publicly on the threat to Chris Johnson, is his father, who would later say, he learned his son’s name was at the ‘top of the list.’ Id. I have seen nothing in the press to indicate that Jones, who is said to be cooperating with authorities – he had better be, for the reduced sentence – has revealed the real purpose of the excursion was to kill Chris Johnson and not Chris Lane. And, for whatever reason, neither Ford nor Hicks has stated that Jones wasn’t in on the shooting of Lane from the beginning, despite I think this makes sense, given the criminal charges.
As to why Edwards, sitting up front with Jones; and Luna received the same charge when Luna supposedly pulled the trigger, well, maybe Edwards spotted Lane and encouraged his friend in the back, to shoot.