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'Strangulation is deliberation': State, prosecution hand Kylr Yust murder trial to jury

kylr yust murder trial testimony day 9
Posted at 7:36 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 23:50:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The prosecution and defense in Kylr Yust's double-murder trial took very different approaches in closing arguments Wednesday afternoon.

After hearing testimony from the defendant himself, jurors heard final perspective from each side before the case was handed over to them for deliberation.

The prosecution was up first, and assistant prosecuting attorney Julie Tolle appealed to the jurors’ reason and common sense.

BLOG: Jury receives Kylr Yust murder case for deliberation

She also took them through one of the documents they will use to make their verdict, which for first-degree murder, require some amount of deliberation, “no matter how brief.”

“Strangulation is deliberation,” Tolle said.

She closed her arguments for the day by putting a timer on the screen in the courtroom.

It was set to the amount of time it takes to strangle a person to death.

Tolle asked the jurors to think about Yust’s alleged victims, Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, as the clock ticked down.

“Those two girls didn’t know each other in life, but they will be united forever together in death,” Tolle said.

The defense, however, argued there is not enough hard evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Yust committed the crimes of which he’s accused.

“Talk is cheap, and sometimes words don’t mean anything,” defense attorney Sharon Turlington said, talking about alleged confessions her client made to friends. “What does the evidence say in this case — the science?”

Turlington focused largely on DNA, toxicology and phone record analysis in her closing arguments.

She asked the jury if it was reasonable to believe Yust pulled off two murders without a trace of physical evidence.

Turlington also ridiculed the timeline presented by the state, though the state had another opportunity in front of the jury to show how it would have worked.

The case was handed over to the jury just before 6 p.m. Wednesday.

It’s unclear how long deliberations will go on Wednesday night and possibly into Thursday morning.

41 Action News is committed to bringing you complete coverage of the trial of Kylr Yust, the man accused in the murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. Visit kshb.com/yusttrial for all our stories, case details, timeline and more.