Man gets life without parole for killing Centennial doctor outside his home

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. -- The man who pleaded guilty to killing Centennial doctor Kenneth Atkinson outside his home while he helped a woman who had been shot during a domestic dispute was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole Monday, plus 352 years on other counts.

At the sentencing, 25 victims, including the wife of the man Lyons murdered, described what they called the "horrific" impacts of Lyons' actions.

Jeanne Atkinson described the "crushing sorrow" she has felt since the shooting. "When I come home, he is not waiting. When I weep, he is not there to comfort me. His strong arms are not there to hold me. I am left with a yearning for someone I will never have again,” she said.

Kevin Lyons pleaded guilty to 16 counts last month, including first degree murder, in order to avoid the possibility of facing the death penalty.

Jeanne Atkinson had wanted Lyons to receive the death penalty.

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

A few months earlier, 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.