Kylr Yust charged in Cass County with murder in deaths of Kopetsky, Runions

Posted at 5:22 PM, Oct 05, 2017
and last updated 2020-01-03 18:52:18-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kylr Yust has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions out of Cass County. 

Yust has been in custody since September 2016 on suspicions of burning Runions's car in Jackson County. After murder charges were announced in Cass County,  Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said felony charges against Yust were dismissed. 

“The prosecutors in Jackson and Cass have agreed that we could best pursue justice by working together on this case,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement on Friday. “My office will work with Cass County in a joint commitment to the pursuit of justice for the victims in this case.”

In addition to the two murder charges, he is also charged with two counts of abandonment of a corpse. 

Bond for Yust has been requested at $1 million. Yust was transferred from the Jackson County jail to Cass County on Friday. 


Yust’s Jackson County attorney speaks to 41 Action News 

Kylr Yust's attorney in the Jackson County case, Molly Hastings, tells 41 Action News her client plans to enter a "not guilty" plea regarding charges in Cass County.

Hastings told 41 Action News on Thursday, she is unsure whether she'll represent him in Cass County because she doesn’t know if prosecutors will pursue capital murder charges that would include the death penalty.

Hastings said her client anticipated these charges would be coming down for a long time. It was "inevitable".





The families of Jessica Runions and Kara Kopetsky speak after Yust murder charges

“We just want to thank the whole community, all of our family and friends for being with all of us,” said Rhonda Beckford as she stood with Jamie Runions addressing the media, hours after prosecutors announced the murder charges. 

As this case moves forward, both families are focused on getting justice for their girls.  “That’s where we wanted our focus to be, is on our girls. And that’s where we would like it to continue to be,” said Beckford. 




Yust's grandfather speaks to 41 Action News

41 Action News spoke to Alfred Yust. "You do a bad thing, you’re going to get bad things done to you," he said.

What court documents reveal about the case involving Runions and Kopetsky

Kopetsky was last seen leaving Belton High School in May 2007. She was 17 years old. Investigators said Yust was Kopetsky's ex-boyfriend. Kopetsky also received an order of protection against Yust in May 2007 after she told police that Yust kidnapped her when she was leaving work, according to court documents. 

Runions was last seen in September 2016 when witnesses say she left a party with Yust. She was 21 years old. 

According to the probable cause statement, three witnesses came forward over the course of several years claiming that Yust admitted to killing Kopetsky.

One person allegedly told investigators in 2011 that Yust admitted to choking Kopetsky to death and placing her body in the woods.

Also in 2011, an ex-girlfriend of Yust told investigators that Yust choked her and said that he had killed his girlfriends in the past and he wouldn't hesitate to kill her.

The probable cause statement also shows that another witness came forward in 2016 and said that Yust admitted to killing Kopetsky in a conversation about three and half years earlier. The witness also claims Yust said no one would ever find the body unless he showed somebody where it was. Shortly after Runions's disappearance in September 2016, a witness told investigators that Yust admitted to strangling and killing Runions.

He also allegedly said that he left Runions's body in the woods, but he couldn't drag her very far in. That witness also claims he watched Yust burn Runions's car.

That same witness said he took Yust to a residence in Edwards, Missouri to give him time to recover from injuries he sustained while burning the car.

After the witness got away from Yust, he alerted police to his location and Yust was taken into custody.

In late March 2017, a mushroom hunter found a set of human remains in a field in rural Cass County. Investigators found a second set shortly after.

In April, one set of remains was identified as Runions. In August, the second set of remains was positively identified as Kopetsky.