The district attorney in Stephens County, Okla., says a very significant detail in the story of murdered Australian student Chris Lane has been misreported by a number of media outlets, including the Associated Press, CBS News and the Daily Mail. TheBlaze also reported the quote using Associated Press information.
Various media sources quoted 17-year-old suspect Michael Jones as saying, “I pulled the trigger” during his bail hearing on Tuesday. But Duncan Banner reporter Mike Smith reported the quote as “I didn’t pull the trigger.” Obviously, the two statements are only slightly different, but mean drastically different things.
Jones has been charged with using a vehicle to facilitate the discharge of a weapon and accessory after the fact of murder in the first degree. His accomplices, James Edwards, 15, and Chancy Luna, 16, have both been charged with first degree murder.
Smith reportedly told Mediaite the the quote he used was accurate, insinuating that the mainstream media got the story wrong. He said he was “standing right there” and District Attorney Jason Hicks was “even closer.”
Hicks also told the website that Smith’s account was correct and Jones did in fact say “I didn’t pull the trigger” at his bail hearing.
“I was standing right next to him, Mike Smith was standing right next to him, a whole bunch of deputies heard him,” he said. ‘The judge stopped him and told him ‘You’re here [to] set a bond, and that’s it.”
The district attorney said he would have “immediately stopped the proceeding” and “filed a murder one charge” if Jones really said he pulled the trigger.
Responding to reports of racist tweets found on the suspects’ social media pages, Hicks said there is no evidence to indicate that Chris Lane was murdered because he was white.
“I don’t see anything there,” he said, later adding, “Our focus is on making sure that we get justice for Christopher Lane.”
The Daily Mail’s Rachel Quigley told Mediaite that she took the seemingly erroneous quote from the AP version of the story. However, CBS News’ Iris Carreras seemingly doubled down, saying the “right quote is ‘I pulled the trigger.'”
(H/T: Jim Treacher, @jtLOL)