Suspected Centennial shooter pleads not guilty

9NEWS at 4 p.m. 3/2/17.

KUSA - The man accused of shooting a prominent doctor in a Centennial neighborhood last year and wounding two women – including his wife -- pleaded not guilty Thursday morning in an Arapahoe County court.

Kevin Lyons’ defense lawyer James Karbach  told the judge he will file a notice of intent to introduce a mental health condition during the proceedings. He will undergo an examination at the state mental health hospital in Pueblo, Judge Carlos Samour ruled. 

Samour, who also presided over the Aurora theater shooting trial, told Lyons' attorneys they would have to turn over all of his medical records and allow the mental health examination to be recorded. 

A similar recorded evaluation of the Aurora theater shooter was shown during that trial.

During Thursday's hearing, Lyons' attorneys did not elaborate on what condition their client has or if an insanity plea will be added.

Samour said the evaluation at the state mental hospital could take three months.  

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Lyons has been charged with 16 counts in the shooting death of Dr. Kenneth Atkinson. He’s also accused of injuring his wife Elizabeth and her friend Lauri Juergens.

The incident happened on April 4 in their Centennial neighborhood.

According to court testimony, Lyons shot at his other neighbors and hit their houses during the chaotic incident. His wife told investigators he had been saying “crazy stuff” prior to opening fire.

Atkinson was shot and killed when he walked across the street to help a victim who’d been hit, witnesses said.

Lyons’ wife said he had been acting “weird” in the days leading up to the shooting, and that they’d been having problems.

During his court appearance on Thursday, Lyons was allowed to wear a suit instead of his jail clothing. Samour said he allowed the rare move prior to the trial to reduce any potential prejudice for media coverage.

District Attorney George Brauchler told the court his office wasn't made a decision about whether or not to pursue the death penalty in this case. By law, he has 63 more days to make the call. 

A 9NEWS camera was allowed in court. The video will be posted as soon as the court proceedings have concluded.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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