The father of the cold-blooded killer who gunned down baseball star Chris Lane says he regularly visits the memorial created on the quiet suburban street where the Australian-born athlete died.
In an exclusive interview with 7 News, Michael Jones’ father, Gene, tearfully told of how he prays for the family of his son’s victim.
“I will tell you that at least one or twice a month I drive past the memorial and say a prayer for the Lane family,” Mr Jones said. “From my understanding he was a vey good young man, a very promising young man, I wish I would’ve got to have met him.”
He said he fears he will be dead by the time his son is released from prison in 38 years after serving his second-degree murder conviction.
“Chances are I won’t get be alive to get to see him when he gets out,” he said. “I miss him a lot.”
Michael Jones was 17 when he and two friends drove past Chris Lane, who was just two weeks out from his twenty third birthday, as he jogged along the side of the road in the small Midwest town of Duncan, Oklahoma on August 16, 2013.
Jones was driving his two friends, Chancey Luna, then 16, and James 'Bug' Edwards, then 15, home from a party where they had been drinking, taking Xanax and smoking meth amphetamine.
Chris Lane was young, fit and madly in love with his girlfriend, living his own version of the American dream through a college baseball scholarship.
He was living in Duncan and left the house to go for a run - as he often did - through the town’s quiet suburban streets.
He was spotted by the three young men as they drove home from their party, who started “laughing” in the moments before the attack.
“I’m just driving down the road and I hear Chancey kind of snickering in the back seat and I hear Bug kind of laughing you know,” Jones said. “I asked him what so funny and they told me not to worry about it and just to keep driving.”
“And we come to a peak of a hill and that’s when I see Chris, Chris jogging and then right before we passed him Chancy shot, shot at him and I heard him scream.”
Facing the other direction Chris didn’t even see the car as Jones swerved it closer to the side of the road to allow Chancey to fire a handgun out of the window into Chris’s back.
“I heard him scream and I looked out my window … and I seen him grabbing his back,” Jones said in his first television interview since his arrest.
Confused and clutching his wound, Chris stumbled towards a row of houses across the road before collapsing in a ditch.
He took his last breaths there, dying in the arms of two strangers who were desperately trying to save his life.
Jones, now 20, broke down during his interview with 7 News and offered an emotional apology to the family of his victim.
“I know I’ve put you all through a lot, you know and there’s nothing I can say or do to ever change what happened but I do… I do hope that they can find it, you know, to forgive me,” he said.
“I’d tell them that I really am truly sorry and ah, I know they’re never going to see Chris again and that’s something that not only them but I have to live with because they’re not ever going to see Chris again at my hand.
“You know I may not have pulled the trigger but I drove away and that’s just as bad.”
But Chris’s father, Peter, flatly rejected the apology, saying he felt “no sympathy” for the convicted killer who had refused to testify against his friends.
“No sympathy whatsoever. He made a conscious choice. He swerved the car. He knew what he was doing, no good being sorry after the event. Don’t do the action, don’t listen to your d***head mates,” Mr Lane said.
“Grow up, act like you’re 16. Apologising is nothing he didn’t testify against Luna. He traded out for his own arse. So, no - no sympathy, no care.”
In his first police interview in 2015, Jones - a cocky teenager fiddling with his handcuffs - told police the thugs had shot down Mr Lane out of “boredom, I guess”.
Recalling the incident to 7 News, Jones said the killers were “excited” as they sped away from the scene.
“They was... this may sound crazy... but they was excited," he said. " They was happy."
“Their exact words was, ‘you got that n****, you shot him, you got him, you got him’.”
Without a second thought of their victim, slowly dying on the side of the road, Jones said his main concern was trying not to get caught.
“The only thing I told Chancey was give me your gun and give me the ammo so I can get rid of it. That’s, that’s just being honest,” he said.
When asked if he ever thought to go back and help the man they had left bleeding in the street he only answered “I didn’t think about him dying…I didn’t realise they had killed a man”.
Jones’ second police interview saw the baby-faced, orange-clad inmate in tears, telling police: “I just want to go home to my wife. I didn’t kill anybody”.
Two weeks after that interview, Jones’ girlfriend gave birth to their daughter.
He won’t be able to go home to his new family until he is eligible for parole in 2051. He will be 55 years old.
Before returning back to his cell, Jones said he thinks about Mr Lane every single day.
“And I’ll think about it every day for the rest of my life.”