By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
Accused of intentionally murdering his two traveling companions on the side of a Casper highway and pointing a gun at a potential witness, Luke Thomas Young pleaded not guilty Friday morning to all charges against him.
Young, 26, told Natrona County District Court Judge Joshua Eames that he was mentally sound and sober enough to understand the arraignment hearing Friday.
He then pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder – each punishable by life in prison or the death penalty – and one count of aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Natrona County District Attorney Daniel Itzen told the judge he hasn’t decided whether his office will pursue the death penalty for Young.
Eames gave Itzen a 30-day deadline to enter a decision in writing, which Itzen said was enough time.
The judge also set Young for a March 27 trial.
Young’s case stems back to Aug. 9, 2022, when he reportedly rode around Wyoming with 28-year-old Kameron Yong-Johnson and 20-year-old Acacia Colvin delivering drugs, including fentanyl, in a red Honda.
According to court documents, Kyle Stalkup of Casper was headed home from his daughter’s birthday celebration on his motorcycle at about 11 p.m. when he crossed paths with the red Honda at the intersection of 22 Mile Road and U.S. West 20-26.
Because his motorcycle is slow, Stalkup let the Honda pass him. The Honda then swerved suddenly to the right side of the road, Stalkup told police, adding that he pulled over to help because he thought the car could have hit a deer.
As he approached, Stalkup saw a woman almost on her knees on the road, just outside the driver’s door, screaming into the vehicle, court documents state.
The woman was later identified as Colvin.
Stalkup told police he watched a man with a muscular build emerge from the passenger side of the vehicle and circle around the back toward him. The male, whose face looked “menacing and nasty,” racked a round into a handgun and pointed it at Stalkup, court documents relate.
Stalkup “dumped the clutch” on his motorcycle and fled, he said.
He called 911 on his cellphone while driving away.
The Two Bodies
Arriving at the car, investigators found Colvin on the ground in front of the passenger side front tire, riddled with gunshot wounds to her body and one gunshot wound to her head.
They also found Young-Johnson in the passenger seat of the car, seat-belted, slumped toward the console with his chin tilted upward and a single gunshot wound to his head.
Luke Young was nowhere to be found.
‘You Know What It Is’
Authorities did not find Young until the following afternoon, when a Casper man called dispatch to say there was an unknown white male jumping fences near 7 Mile Road.
Natrona County Sheriff’s deputies cornered Young in the area and asked his name, court documents state.
“You know what it is,” Young reportedly answered.
Young was not wearing the same clothing as Stalkup had described from the gunpoint encounter, documents state.
A search of the shooting victims’ phones later revealed that Colvin and Young-Johnson had been driving around Wyoming with Young delivering drugs, but that the two men argued bitterly in the car and Colvin tried to get out of the trip, court documents say, adding she seemed fearful by the end of the evening.
Colvin was reportedly driving when the car reached its stopping place on the highway.
Young, court documents indicate, was in the back seat of the car.