The US teen who was convicted of first-degree murder in the death Australian baseball player Chris Lane in Oklahoma in 2013 has had his life sentence reduced by an appeals court.
Chauncey Luna was 16 at the time he shot 22-year-old Lane, who was out jogging, but was tried as an adult, and was sentenced by a jury to life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors in the trial say that Luna, who was with friends Michael Jones and James Edwards Junior on the day of the drive-by shooting, had decided to kill someone “for the fun of it”.
Luna admitted to firing the fatal shot, but claimed that he had no intent to kill.
In a filing this week to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, his lawyer argued that a sentence of life without parole was unconstitutional for a minor.
The court agreed to overturn the sentence, however, Luna’s first-degree murder conviction still stands, and he will be re-sentenced at a later time. In its finding, the appeals court said:
“A finding that Luna’s sentencing jury considered his youth with its attendant characteristics and his chances for rehabilitation in deciding punishment is simply not supported by the record. There was no evidence of important youth-related considerations, such as the juvenile’s chronological age and its hallmark features — among them immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences.”
Lane, originally from Melbourne, was in the US on a sporting scholarship, and had been visiting his girlfriend’s family in the town of Duncan when he was killed.
Source: Herald Sun.