DUNCAN, Okla. -- Prosecutors filed charges against three teenagers Tuesday after police said the boys randomly targeted an Australian baseball player as he jogged and shot him in the back, killing him, to avoid the boredom of an Oklahoma summer day.
Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, died Friday along a tree-lined road on Duncan’s well-to-do north side. Two teenagers, 15- and 16-year-olds from the gritty part of the town, were charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bond.
A third, age 17, was accused of being an accessory after the fact and with driving a vehicle while a weapon was discharged. He said in open court "I pulled the trigger," but the judge directed him to remain quiet and said Tuesday was not the day to discuss the facts of the case.
The boy cried.
His bond was set at $1 million.
Police Chief Dan Ford has said the boys had the simplest of motives.
"They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,"’ Ford said. "The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody."’
He said they followed the 22-year-old Lane, a student from Melbourne attending college on a baseball scholarship, in a car and shot him in the back before driving off.
Ford told the television station KOCO in Oklahoma City that one of the teens said they shot Lane for "the fun of it."
"He didn’t deserve any of this," Lane’s girlfriend, Sarah Harper, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "It’s heartbreaking that it was such a random choice those guys made that drastically altered so many lives in the process."
Witnesses rushed to help Lane after hearing a shot Friday and seeing him stagger and collapse on a road in Duncan, a south-central Oklahoma town of about 24,000 residents.
"He was face down on the ground and he was shot in the back with a .22 revolver," builder Richard Rhodes told Australian broadcasters near a roadside memorial at the scene. "I had another lady stop and we tried CPR on him. And he passed away right here."
Meanwhile, family and friends on two continents mourned Christopher Lane, who gave up pursuit of an Australian football career to pursue his passion for baseball, an American pastime. His girlfriend tearfully laid a cross at a streetside memorial in Duncan, while half a world away, an impromptu memorial grew at the home plate he protected as a catcher on his youth team.
"We just thought we’d leave it," Sarah Harper said as she visited the memorial. "This is his final spot."
Harper said she and Lane had only returned to the United States from Australia last week.
Peter Lane told Australian broadcasters there was no explanation for his son’s death.
"It is heartless and to try to understand it is a short way to insanity," he said.
Lane attended East Central University in Ada, about 85 miles west of Duncan. He started 14 games at catcher last year and was entering his senior year.
"He was an absolute joy to coach," baseball coach Dino Rosato said in a statement issued by the school. "Chris was an extremely well-respected teammate. ... He set a great example for all of his teammates, but more importantly for the younger players. He was a mature student-athlete who his teammates could look to for advice and support."