Prominent Texas pastor is related to suspect in Australian ballplayer's murder

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

kvue.com

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 6:43 AM

HOUSTON -- Bishop James Dixon has spent a lifetime preaching against senseless violence. But the Community of Faith Church pastor never imagined he'd have to teach that lesson to a close relative.

"A life is a life,” said Dixon. “It's important for him to understand that someone's life has been needlessly taken, a family's total existence has been forever altered and you're responsible."

The young man he referred is his 15-year-old cousin James Edwards, who stands accused along with two other teens of fatally shooting Christopher Lane, a 23-year-old baseball player from Australia simply because they were bored.

The crime happened in the small town of Duncan, Oklahoma, where Dixon spent time as a child, and to where he's about to return to meet with his cousin and with local clergy.

"I'm hoping that my presence will serve to strengthen the unity between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics and others," Dixon said.

But that unity has been tested since the murder, with critics accusing black leaders of remaining silent because the person who was killed was not a member of the African American community.

Dixon said it's the human community that matters most, and that is the message he plans to carry to Oklahoma and even to Australia if given the chance.

"I want to apologize to Mr. Lane's family that something like this happened to their son on American soil," Dixon said.

He knows the apology won't bring back a life, but he hopes the dialogue can help save others.

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