Man serving life for murder gets another life term for shooting the only witness


Steven Daniel Young (Denver District Attorney's Office)

Steven Daniel Young (Denver District Attorney’s Office)

A Colorado man serving a life sentence for murder got another life term this week for shooting the only witness six days later and leaving her body in an alley for a bicyclist to find and call 911.

Steven Daniel Young, 48, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the 2020 death of Charly Lewis, 32. He was convicted of first-degree murder in September, prosecutors said in a news release.

Lewis’ body was found on June 7, 2020. Young killed Lewis because she saw him kill John Cyprian six days earlier in Aurora, a murder he was convicted of in April 2021, authorities said.

He was charged with murder in the first degree and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

An affidavit released by the Denver District Attorney’s Office spelling out the case said the Denver Combined Communications Center received a 911 phone call at 5:07 a.m. about a body located in the alley behind 1065 N. Federal Blvd.

The caller reported he was riding his bicycle north through the alley and saw the body lying face down next to a fence and blood, so he flagged down an employee of a restaurant before calling 911 and waiting for police to arrive.

Police found the victim lying on her back, slumped against the fence, with a hooded sweatshirt pulled up tight to her chin and around her head. Blood ran down from under the head and neck area. A spent .40 caliber shell casing lay on the ground next to her left foot, and an intact bullet was found lying on the ground under the victim’s head.

Police collected video surveillance from the area and learned through a gunshot detection report that a single gunshot had been heard where the victim was found at 4:23 a.m., 44 minutes before the 911 call.

Authorities quickly learned that the victim had been a witness to a murder and that Young had an outstanding warrant for murder in the first degree out of Adams County that was issued on June 4, 2020.

Aurora police had put out an attempt to locate alert for Lewis because they were in fear for her safety.

Video surveillance from a restaurant showed the victim walking with a Black male who appeared to be the same height and weight as Young into the alley at 2:30 that morning.

In other footage, the man was seen wearing a mask over his face and appeared to be wearing blue latex gloves. He was also wearing a gray baseball hat, a maroon shirt with what appears to be a blue T-shirt draped over his left shoulder, sweatpants with reflective material on the pockets, and black tennis shoes with white soles.

At 4:25 a.m., about 2 minutes after the victim was shot, the man can be seen exiting the alley without the victim, the affidavit said.

Young killed Cyprian, 41, who he saw walking with Lewis in Aurora, prosecutors said.

He pulled up in a large gray SUV, got out of the vehicle and charged at Cyprian, authorities said. Young, who had a 45-caliber handgun, fired the weapon at Cyprian. The bullet struck him in the small intestine and damaged a major artery, officials said. He crawled to a nearby field, where he died while Young returned to the SUV with Lewis and drove off.

Aurora police arrested Young on June 8, 2020, for that homicide. He was convicted of first-degree murder on April 2, 2021, and was ultimately sentenced in that case before he was tried in Denver for Lewis’ murder.

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