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LA Activist Urges Civil Rights Leaders To Condemn Murder Of Australian Baseball Player

Christopher Lane murder suspects
Michael Jones (left), Chancey Allen Luna, and James Francis Edwards have been charged in connection with the death of Christopher Lane. (Photo credit: Getty Images News)

LOS ANGELES ( — A Southland civil rights activist is calling on other community leaders to publicly condemn the murder of an Australian baseball player.

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson released a statement Thursday urging other civil rights leaders to speak out after Christopher Lane, 22, of Melbourne, was shot once in the back as he was jogging near his girlfriend's family's home in Duncan, Okla. on Friday.

In addition to the group making a donation directly to the support fund established to aid the family of Chris Lane, Hutchinson also wants other civil rights leaders to contribute to the fund, according to Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable Vice President Pedro Baez.

"This was a heinous murder irrespective of color," Hutchinson said in a statement. "And this makes it even more compelling for civil rights leaders to publicly condemn the killing, no matter who the victim is or the alleged perpetrators are."

Prosecutors say James Francis Edwards Jr., 15, was in the passenger seat of a car driven by Michael Dewayne Jones, 17, when Chancey Allen Luna, 16, shot and killed Lane from the backseat.

Jones later admitted the boys were "bored" and killed Lane "for fun," according to police.

In a video posted online, Edwards can be seen pointing a rifle and using profanity, and allegedly even "posted anti-white tweets," Hutchinson said, including one that read, "90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM".

Rainbow/PUSH Coalition founder Jesse Jackson, who in July called for Congress to investigate the death of Trayvon Martin last year, responded on Twitter by saying Lane's murder and other "senseless violence is frowned upon".

Glenn Beck and other conservative critics, however, have noted what Beck's The Blaze described as a "lack of outrage" by the media over the killing in comparison to coverage of the Martin case.

Edwards and Luna are charged with first-degree murder, while Jones faces accessory charges.

If convicted, Edwards and Luna face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Jones, who will be tried in adult court, faces anywhere from two years to life in prison.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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