The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

August 22, 2013

Australian killed in Okla. followed college dream

ADA, Okla. — Chris Lane loved baseball, but knew it wouldn't make him a star. Instead, the Australian youth with a quirky passion for America's pastime came to the U.S. for a college education, found a girlfriend and died while training for what was likely his final year on the diamond.

"He achieved at lot for a 22-year-old," his father, Peter Lane, told reporters in Melbourne. "He gave up a lot to follow his dream."

Lane hoped to work in real estate after graduating from East Central University next May but was shot in the back while jogging along a tree-lined street near his girlfriend's home in Duncan last week. Three boys — ages 15, 16 and 17 — have been charged in what prosecutors called a thrill killing.

The Redlands Community College coach who brought Lane to America remembered him Wednesday as a player with heart and passion. Matt Newgent said this wasn't necessarily enough to translate to a professional baseball career, but that Lane's talent secured him a college education.

"Chris was such a level-headed guy. He knew his limitations," said Newgent. "He knew in his heart of hearts he wouldn't make the majors."

Lane, who was about to become a senior, started 14 games at catcher last season and he hit .250.

Lane had been playing baseball for the Essendon Baseball Club in Australia when Newgent recruited him. A former principal at Lane's prep school in Melbourne said Thursday that Lane could have played Australian Rules football, but that he gave that up to pursue baseball — a minor sport in Australia.

"He was involved in other sports. He was a very good AFL (Australian Football League) footballer and could have gone on, I'm sure, in that area. He was a member of our athletics team, it was a champion team. He was very good that way and worked hard at his studies," Frank FitzGerald said.

At Redlands, Lane met Sarah Harper, a collegiate golfer from Duncan. Friends expected them to marry after graduation.

"They were really a good couple and fun to be around," Newgent said.

Harper transferred to Oklahoma Christian University in Edmond during Lane's last year at Redlands. When Lane was looking to move from the community college to a four-year college to finish his degree, he wanted to stay in Oklahoma "because Sarah was in Oklahoma," Newgent said.

Lane and Harper had recently returned from a trip to Australia, and Lane was visiting Harper and her parents in Duncan, a south-central Oklahoma city of about 24,000. Lane was on a training run Friday when three teens chose him at random and shot him for "the fun of it," police said.

Prosecutors charged Chancey Allen Luna, 16, and James Francis Edwards, Jr., 15, of Duncan, with first-degree murder. Under Oklahoma law they will be tried as adults. Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, of Duncan, was charged with using a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon and with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. He is considered a youthful offender but will be tried in adult court.

Police have said the 17-year-old told authorities the boys were "bored" when they targeted Lane. Autopsy results released Wednesday say Lane died from a "penetrating gunshot wound to back."

An online fund set up to help Lane's parents travel to Oklahoma to collect his body topped AU$90,000 ($81,200) on Thursday.

On the East Central University campus, Lane's baseball teammates told The Associated Press they were not allowed to speak with the media. But in a tribute article on the school's website, teammate Sam Malchar said Lane had a competitive spirit, and was sure to be a success in business.

"He wanted to get into real estate in the states, which I always told him would be a good idea because, with his accent, he could sell a boat in the desert," Malchar said.

Players said it was likely Lane would have been the ECU Tigers' captain in 2014. On his old teams, he was already showing leadership qualities.

"I was immediately struck by the maturity of the kid at that age," said David Tierney, who coached Lane's Under-18 team at Victoria in 2008. "Immediately the other coaches and I made him the captain of the team just because of the way he carried himself and because the other guys in the team seemed to grow a couple of inches when he was around."

___

Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra contributed to this report.

 

1
Text Only
National and world
  • Mideast Israel web.jpg Israel pushes deeper in Gaza after soldier seized

    President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called for the immediate release of the soldier but also appealed for restraint. In Israel, senior Cabinet ministers convened late Friday in a rare emergency meeting after the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Immigration Overload web.jpg House OKs bill to address border crisis

    The spending bill passed 223-189 late Friday, with only four Republicans voting “no” and one Democrat voting “yes.” The measure ending Obama’s deportation relief program passed 216-192, with 11 Republican “no” votes and four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana County Fair web.jpg Denver fair’s bong, edible contests celebrate pot

    A speed joint-rolling contest uses oregano, not pot. The only real stuff allowed at the event? Doritos, to be used in the munchie eating contest.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • CDC Ebola web.jpg U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

    “The bottom line is Ebola is worsening in West Africa,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who announced the travel warning.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast web.jpg Gaza truce comes after days of pushing for a deal

    Finally, less than an hour after all sides signed off on the precise and technical wording for a 72-hour truce, Kerry issued a statement and called a 3:30 a.m. Friday press conference to seal the deal before any party could back out.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Taiwan web.jpg Gas explosions kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan

    The fires were believed caused by a leak of propene, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Congress web.jpg Congress races to finish VA, highway bills

    House Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats of pursuing a “nutso scheme” of trying to seize on the border crisis to try and grant a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants living in the country illegally.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Illinois Unemployment_Hass.jpg As U.S. job market strengthens, many don't feel it

    "If the economy is getting better, I'm not sure for whom. It certainly hasn't trickled down to me." — Douglas Hunter, who earned $14 an hour before the Great Recession and now works three days a week for $9.25 an hour, mopping floors and fixing fryers at McDonald's.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • House Obama Lawsuit.jpg Republican-led House approves lawsuit against President Obama

    Just a day before lawmakers were to begin a five-week summer recess, debate over the proposed lawsuit underscored the harshly partisan tone that has dominated the current Congress almost from its start in January 2013.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Russia Putin web.jpg Sanctions could damage Russia

    The sanctions go further than earlier penalties — which had largely targeted individuals — by broadly limiting the trade of weapons and of technology that can be used in the oil and military industries. The EU also put its capital markets off-limits to Russian state-owned banks.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads