(ADA, Okla.) — One of the Oklahoma teenagers charged in the murder of Australian baseball player Chris Lane tweeted “time to start taken life’s” three days before police said Lane was gunned down by “bored” teens who “wanted to see someone die.”
James Edwards, 15, is charged first degree murder in the shooting death of Lane, 22, a baseball standout from Melbourne, Australia, who attended school at East Central University in Ada, Okla.
On Aug. 13, Edwards tweeted, “With my n***as when it’s time to start taken life’s.”
Edwards’ Twitter account include a string of tweets laced with profanity and crude epithets talking about beating up a woman, using guns and calling “victim to the streets.”
Prosecutors allege a fatal shot was fired at Lane from a car as he jogged along a road in Duncan, Okla., last Friday.
Chancey Luna, 16, who allegedly pulled the trigger, has been charged with first-degree murder. Michael Jones, 17, the alleged driver of the car, has been charged with use of a vehicle in the discharge of weapon and being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
A $1 million bond was set for Jones at a hearing on Tuesday, while Edwards and Luna were denied bond.
None of the teens have entered pleas and they have not yet retained attorneys, according to a spokeswoman from the Stephens County District Attorney’s Office.
The three suspects are black and Lane was white, but District Attorney Jason Hicks denied that race was a factor in the shooting.
“At this point, the evidence does not support the theory that Christopher Lane was targeted based upon his race or nationality,” Hicks said Friday. Although Hicks acknowledges that social media postings allegedly made by some of the accused appear racial in nature, “the evidence is insufficient to establish that race was the primary motive in the murder of Christopher Lane.”
One of Edwards’ tweets on Aug. 28 said, “90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM.”
Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said it was Jones who told authorities that the teens indiscriminately chose to kill Lane because they were “bored.”
The killing of the handsome Australian athlete has made international headlines and rattled the quiet town of Duncan, population 24,000, where Ford said he couldn’t recall the last time there was a murder.
“I don’t think we average one [murder] a year,” he said. “Basically, we’re a rural Oklahoma community.”
An online fundraiser has brought in more than $150,000 for Lane’s family to fly to Oklahoma, bring his body back to Australia and to pay for funeral expenses.
Lane majored in business and finance and played catcher on the school’s baseball team.
As classes began this week, Lane’s coach, Dino Rosato, remembered a player who “had an above average baseball IQ” and also excelled in the classroom.
“He was a tireless worker on the and off the field. He was an absolute joy to coach,” Rosato said. “You would never know if he was having a bad day because he always had the Chris Lane smile on.”
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