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Oklahoma teen to testify for state in case of slain Australian

By Heide Brandes

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Oklahoma filed a motion on Tuesday to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against an Oklahoma teenager who has agreed to testify for the state against two of his friends accused of fatally shooting an Australian athlete a year ago.

James Francis Edwards, Jr., 16, will face a new charge of accessory after the fact to the first-degree murder of Christopher Lane, a Melbourne resident shot in the back while jogging in Duncan, Oklahoma, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Oklahoma City.

Lane, 23, was a student at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, where he played baseball.

Edwards will testify against the two other teenagers, Chancey Luna and Michael Dewayne Jones, who are charged with first-degree murder, which can bring the death penalty, according to court papers.

Police say the teens shot Lane in the back because they said they were "bored."

In a pretrial hearing, Edwards testified that Luna fired the shot that struck Lane. He said he was in the front passenger seat that day and rolling a marijuana cigarette, while Jones was driving the car and Luna was in the back.

(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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