A jury of five women and seven men begin deciding Chancey Luna’s fate today.
District Judge Ken Graham asked the jury to return for instructions and closing statements at 9:30 a.m.
Luna is charged with first-degree murder for firing the shot that killed Melbourne-native Christopher Lane as he was jogging near the intersection of Country Club Road and Twilight Beach on Aug. 16, 2013.
If convicted, Luna could face up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His attorneys – Jim Berry and Howard Berry Jr. – may ask for a lesser sentence.
Luna, 17, allegedly fired the shot from a small, black Ford Focus, driven by Michael Jones, 19, and accompanied by James Edwards Jr., 17.
Dr. Inas Yacoub, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Lane, said the .22-caliber bullet broke two of his ribs, punctured both lungs, and went through his aorta and esophagus, before lodging just under the collarbone on Lane’s right side.
Lane suffered massive internal bleeding as a result, Yacoub said.
“That’s damage to vital organs that could not be reversed,” she said. “I did observe blood in the airway, so there was some breathing before he died.”
She also said the entrance wound on the left side of Lane’s back was small, which could indicate the shot wasn’t at close range.
Lane’s family and friends fought tears as photos from the autopsy and the bloodstained Redlands baseball shirt Lane was wearing were displayed to the jury. Luna looked straight ahead from the defense table.
Duncan Police Detective John Byers, who assisted Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Agent Jeremy Engel in searching Jones’ car, said he found 102 .22-caliber bullets in the fuse box and air-filter area of the car.
Assistant District Attorney questioned Byers about whether any of the bullets he found were blanks, which he denied. Edwards previously testified that Luna told him he thought the gun was loaded with blanks.
Byers said he received a tip that Oddesse Barnes, 23, knew where the gun was and went to speak with him at Elm Terrace Apartments.
Barnes consented to a search of his apartment, and questioned another boy about the issue, but no gun was found, he said.
“We followed leads up until the beginning of this trial,” Byers said, about the search for the gun.
Duncan Police Detective Donny Foraker said he swabbed Luna, Edwards and Jones to test for gun-shot residue.
One of Luna’s attorneys, Jim Berry, questioned Foraker about whether he was aware the FBI had abandoned gun-shot residue as evidence or if they’d bagged Luna’s hands before taking samples.
District Attorney Jason Hicks went on to question Foraker about whether not bagging Luna’s hands would damage the procedure, to which Foraker replied that it wouldn’t.
Foraker said Luna’s hands weren’t bagged when he took the samples.
OSBI Criminalist Brad Rogers said he tested the swabs Foraker took and found two particles of chemicals commonly released from gunshots on Luna’s right hand.
Andrew Kerstetter, custodian of records for Sprint phone network, said there was a call placed from Luna’s number at about 2:25 p.m. on Aug. 16, 2013, that connected from a phone tower near the scene of the crime.
Additional calls were made at 2:41 p.m. and 3:13 p.m. that day, Kerstetter said.
“What I did is based on historical analysis to show you what did occur on the Sprint network,” he said.
Berry asked Kerstetter whether the mapping of towers and where calls connected from was accurate. Kerstetter said they can track the phones, but not the individual.
The state rested its case against Luna after testimony from Lane’s girlfriend at the time, Sarah Harper, Edwards, three bystanders who saw Lane fall after the shooting, and various law enforcement officials who investigated the case.
The defense called one witness, Luna’s mother, Jennifer, before resting its case.
Jennifer Luna said Chancey’s father, Cornell Dean, is in jail. She said she’s worked for Ability First for the last 30 years.
“He pretty much lived with my parents,” she said, of Luna’s childhood.
Jennifer Luna said she currently lives with a friend.
The last question Berry asked her was whether she loved her son.
“I love him with all my heart,” Jennifer Luna said, tearfully.
After the jury was dismissed, Chancey Luna walked in front of District Judge Ken Graham, and his attorneys reminded him of his right to testify on his own behalf.
“It’s your decision because of the seriousness of what we’re here for,” Jim Berry said.
Graham asked Luna if he’d like to change his previous decision, to which Luna replied, “no, sir.”
Luna described her son as respectful, and his aunt, Tanya Dean, previously said their family was, “God-based.”
Jones recently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 38 years.
Judicial proceedings against Edwards are halted pending appeal of his being charged as an adult with accessory to murder.
Barnes pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact for his role in helping to hide the gun and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, of which he’ll serve 12, back in January.