Man pleads guilty to killing doctor who tried to help woman outside his home

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ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- The man accused of killing Centennial doctor Kenneth Atkinson outside his home while he helped a woman who had been shot during a domestic dispute pleaded guilty Thursday.

Kevin Lyons will get life in prison without parole, avoiding the possibility of facing the death penalty.

In early March, Lyons pleaded not guilty in Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr.'s courtroom.

A few months ago, Lyons was considered competent to stand trial after he underwent a medical evaluation after making loud outbursts in the courtroom.

Lyons faced 12 felony counts in the April 4, 2016 shooting death of Atkinson in a Centennial neighborhood.

The charges included first-degree murder after deliberation, five counts of attempted first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer.

Atkinson tried to help a neighbor who authorities said had been wounded by gunfire from Lyons. Atkinson was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Two women were injured in the shooting, including Lyons’ wife, 44-year-old Elizabeth Lyons. She and Laurie Juergens, 46, survived.

Lyons will be formally sentenced June 5.