Luke Thomas Young on Thursday was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of two Casper-area residents.

Young, 26, appeared by videoconference from the Natrona County jail to hear these and one other count during his initial appearance before Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Michael Patchen.

He is accused of killing 19-year-old Acacia Colvin and 27-year-old Kameron Young Johnson.

First-degree murder is punishable by death, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or life imprisonment, Patchen said.

Young also is charged with one count of aggravated assault, which is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, Patchen said.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Arrache told the judge that this will be District Attorney Dan Itzen's case, but he was not able to make it to the initial appearance.

In discussing bond, Arrache said this is "a very cold-blooded murder case," which warranted a $1 million cash-only bond. Anything less than that could mean Young could get out and be a danger to the community.

Patchen agreed.

The back of the courtroom on the fifth floor of the Townsend Justice Center was filled with apparent family members and a group of Natrona County Sheriff's deputies and investigators.

After the hearing, a family member declined to comment.

The case started in the late evening hours on Aug. 9, when deputies responded to a report of a shooting on U.S. Highway 20-26 west of Casper, and located Colvin and Johnson.

Deputies began looking for Young, who was considered a "person of interest" in the case, but not yet a suspect.

The next afternoon, a resident reported suspicious activity of a person matching Young's description in the area of 7 Mile Road and 6WN Road. Young was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Natrona County jail, according to a previous Sheriff's Office news release.

Young had a warrant out for his arrest after failing to return from his place of employment, as he was on a work release program.

The Wyoming Department of Corrections reported he walked away from the Adult Corrections Program on Aug. 4 in Campbell County. He was serving a sentence of three to five years imprisonment handed down by the Sheridan County District Court in March 2021 for the unlawful manufacture and/or delivery of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs.

On Wednesday, Young made his initial appearance in Campbell County Circuit Court where a judge read the escape charge. His bond was set at $250,000 cash-only and on top of any other outstanding bond.

Sheriff's Sgt. Taylor Courtney, who oversees investigators, said after the hearing the aggravated assault involved another person -- the motorcyclist who reported the crime. Young allegedly pointed a gun at him, Courtney said.

He said that and other details of the investigation are laid out in the affidavit accompanying the charging documents, which were not immediately available after the initial appearances.

The investigation continues, Courtney added.

Guy in the Chair: A Look Inside the Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center

For the Casper Police Department and every other first responder agency, there is the Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center. They are this town's 'Guy in the Chair,' taking calls, directing traffic and, quite literally, saving lives.

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