WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A man who was charged with capital murder for two deaths in Wichita has pleaded guilty to two lesser counts of first-degree murder, according to the district attorney’s office. He no longer faces the possibility of a death sentence.

Kyle Young was arrested in July 2020 for a Jan. 2, 2020 shooting that killed 27-year-old George Kirksey and 22-year-old Alicia Roman. Their bodies were found in a room at a downtown hotel.

The district attorney’s office originally charged Young with capital murder, aggravated burglary, and criminal possession of a weapon by a felon. Being charged with capital murder in Kansas means that there is a possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

The case got broader attention earlier this year. The American Civil Liberties Union took up Young’s case. The ACLU argued that the Kansas death penalty law is racially biased and unconstitutional.

After listening to three days of testimony in February, Sedgwick County District Court Judge Jeff Goering agreed to consider the issue. His opinion has been pending since then.

On Tuesday morning, Goering’s administrative aide notified KSN News that when Young pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, the motion against the constitutionality of the Kansas death penalty became moot.

KSN News contacted the ACLU for its reaction to the new development. We received this statement:

“We are pleased that Mr. Young’s case has resolved without imposition of the death penalty. This means that the Court will not reach the serious challenges to the constitution about the application of the death penalty in Kansas that we raised on behalf of Mr. Young. The  evidence we presented proved the death penalty in Kansas is unconstitutionally arbitrary and racially discriminatory. While Mr. Young’s case will conclude with his non-capital sentencing hearing, these problems will remain as long as the death penalty is available in Kansas. We expect that going forward defendants facing capital charges will rely on the evidence we presented to oppose any future use of the death penalty.”

Cassandra Stubbs, director of the ACLU’s Capital Punishment Project

The judge scheduled Young’s sentencing on the two counts of first-degree murder for Nov. 21.