Although Luke Thomas Young will spend the rest of his life in prison, there will be no jail sentence long enough or amount of restitution large enough to replace the two lives he has taken.
On Friday morning, Young, 27, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in Natrona County District Court. In March, he pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and one of aggravated assault for shooting Kameron Young-Johnson and Acacia Colvin along the side of a road in August 2022.
Young offered a short apology during Friday’s sentencing, but said he “cannot fix the pain and suffering caused.”
He said he would take back his actions in “a heartbeat” if he could.
‘I Wish My Mommy Was Here’
The families of Colvin and Young-Johnson spoke to the impact that Young’s decision to murder their loved ones with a .40-caliber pistol on the side of Highway 20/26 near the Natrona County Airport has had on their lives.
Colvin, who was 19 years old at the time of her death, leaves behind two young boys. Her mother and younger sister spoke to the pain and anguish Young’s actions have caused their family.
Colvin’s sister, a high school student, said she has missed significant time in school and had to get on medication to cope with the emotional toll of her sister’s death.
“I haven’t and won’t be the happy girl I was before,” she said.
Colvin’s mother Katherine McKinney said Young’s double homicide was premeditated and that he would kill again if given the chance.
“You will never understand what you so brutally and violently took from us,” she told Young. “You are a murderer. You should never have the opportunity to live in society.”
McKinney said Colvin’s two young boys cannot understand why their mother will never come home again, asking many times each day about her.
“Everything we do it’s, ‘I wish my mommy was here,’” McKinney said.
‘God Will Never Forgive You’
Nannette Rose, Young-Johnson’s mother, said Young had never apologized to her family until Friday.
“God will never forgive you, nor will I,” she said.
Rose could be heard sobbing for a few minutes after she gave her victim impact statement. She said that Young-Johnson had considered Young a brother to him.
The two had been friends while incarcerated and met at “boot camp,” a Wyoming program for young offenders.
Testimony was also provided on Young’s behalf, explaining the traumatic childhood he went through that paved the way for a violent life.
After being abused and neglected as an infant, Young was tossed around the foster care system as a child, receiving no fewer than 20 different Department of Family Services placements by the time he was an adult, said Harriet Storm.
“Luke grew up different from most of us. He was born into a situation with factors that are different than the rest of us,” Storm said.
Storm said Young started abusing substances when he became an adult as a way to cope with his childhood trauma.
Natrona County District Attorney Dan Itzen argued that the victims of Young’s actions have experienced more legitimate trauma.
How It Happened
Young killed his two traveling companions while he was high on meth.
The trio had left Casper earlier that day in a red car to deal drugs. Both men were armed. Young sat in the back.
On their way back home, all three did “a bunch of meth,” said Young.
He admitted during his plea confession given in March that he became irritated with their whispering in the car and quickly snapped.
The whispering led Young to draw his gun on Young-Johnson, who started pulling out his gun, but before he could do so Young shot him.
Colvin, who was driving, quickly pulled over, which drew the attention of bystander motorcyclist Kyle Stalkup.
Young told Stalkup to leave and threatened him with his gun. Young’s aggravated assault conviction stems from pointing the .40-caliber gun at Stalkup.
Then, after seeing “someone coming at me out of the corner of my eye,” Young said he shot Colvin six times.
Young was not at the scene when the authorities arrived.
A civilian spotted Young hopping fences across private property in the Casper area about 2 p.m. the next day, according to court testimony and public announcements by the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office.
Young was arrested after the sighting and was found wearing clothing different from the dark-colored outfit in which Stalkup had seen him.
Natrona County District Court Judge Joshua Eames said Young had recently escaped from the VOA treatment center in Gillette.
By pleading guilty to the charges, Young avoids the death penalty, but still faces a life sentence in prison. He will also owe $12,353 in restitution.
Eames said he did not find Young to be a worthy candidate for probation at some point down the road.
“Thedamage Mr. Young has caused is unimaginable, and sometimes that damage won’t be realized for years or even decades,” he said.
Leo Wolfson can be reached at Leo@CowboyStateDaily.com.