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Kylr Yust case: State says communication violations don't warrant dismissal

Kylr Yust mug new background
Posted at 1:56 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 14:56:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Prosecutors arguing the case against accused double murderer Kylr Yust said in court filings this week that although they acknowledge some of Yust's jail communications were recorded and accessed by Cass County Jail staff, the violations do not warrant the removal of the county prosecutor or the dismissal of the case.

In response to Yust’s allegations that his attorney-client calls and other communications were recorded, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office hired someone to investigate the communication system at the Cass County Jail.

The investigation found that because of failures within the Turnkey software system, approximately 23 of Yust’s calls to his attorneys were recorded, and 12 of those calls were monitored, mostly by two employees in the sheriff’s office, according to the state's court filing.

Because of issues with the Turnkey system, several attorney-client emails also were not encrypted.

In the filing, Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Butler said that the state does not intend to call either of the jail employees who accessed Yust’s calls as witnesses in his upcoming double murder trial, which was recently delayed again.

The state argues, however, that because the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office did not have access to any privileged communications, the office should not be disqualified from the case.

“A reasonable person with knowledge of all the facts and circumstances of this case would not find the appearance of impropriety for the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office to continue prosecuting the above-captioned case because no employee of the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office has listened to or accessed any communication between Yust and his attorneys,” the filing reads. “Additionally, the violations of attorney-client privilege do not warrant the dismissal of the pending charges.”

Yust, 31, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 17-year-old Kara Kopetsky and 21-year-old Jessica Runions, whose remains were found near each other in rural Cass County in 2017. The two went missing nearly a decade apart.

Also this week, Yust’s attorneys filed a separate motion asking for all information on an “alternative suspect” who had been investigated by the Belton Police Department.

The state responded to the motion, saying that those files already had been provided.

Yust’s next court hearing, where a new trial date could be set, is scheduled for Sept. 15.

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