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BLOG: Jailhouse recordings between Yust, mother played in court

sgt. barbara eckert yust trial day 4
alan alvarado yust trial day 4
jaxxon mallett yust trial day 4
jamie runions yust trial day 4
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aaron caponetto yust trial day 4
seth duncan yust trial day 4
katelyn farris yust trial day 4
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Posted at 8:47 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 18:50:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 5:50 p.m. | Court is in recess until 8:30 a.m. Friday.

5:39 p.m. | A different phone call is being played in court now. The conversation is between Yust and his mother again.

He apologizes for confessing to murder, saying "I didn't do anything, and I'm not going to sit here and pretend like I did."

His mother gets upset and says he "drug her body out in the woods somewhere."

Yust denies it.

5:36 p.m. | The conversation between Yust and his mother is very tense.

In the phone call, Yust can be heard saying he killed a girl partly because of the way he was raised.

His mom asks him to tell her where Runions' body is so her family can find her.

5:26 p.m. | Eckert wraps up reading the email exchange, which at times contained graphic details.

Now, the prosecution is playing a prison call. It appears to be a call between Yust and his mother from the Jackson County Detention Center.

5:02 p.m. | The emails appear to contain an exchange in which Yust and Runions break up and Runions tells Yust to make up with Mallett.

4:51 p.m. | Eckert is reading a series of emails between Yust and Runions.

4:40 p.m. | Sgt. Barbara Eckert is called to the witness stand. She is retired from the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department, where she worked for nearly 30 years.

She was a supervisor for a unit of homicide detectives.

Eckert became involved in the Runions case after it shifted from a missing persons case to a homicide case.

She said she believe a witness came forward and that's when the investigation changed course.

4:32 p.m. | U.O. worked with Yust and testifies about seeing Yust the day after Runions went missing.

He said Yust had scratches on his face, looked like he didn't want to be there and left early.

4:29 p.m. | A person who worked with Yust is called next to the witness stand.

The prosecution said because of the witness' personal situation, he will only be identified by his initials and the camera is not allowed to shoot him.

He is identified by the initials U.O.

4:25 p.m. | In cross examination, the defense portrays Yust as a "drunken idiot" that night, though Alvarado didn't agree with that assessment.

He'd been friends with Yust for years, and said he had seen him more wasted.

4:16 p.m. | Alvarado said he asked Runions to call or text him that she'd gotten home safe.

He said he never heard from her, and appeared to get slightly emotional at this point.

4:08 p.m. | Alvardo described the ups and downs of the evening.

Yust became aggressive when he was accidentally locked out of the house while Runions and the others smoked weed.

Then, he was happy and he and Runions were sitting in each others' laps.

Later, he became aggravated again when Runions removed photos of them from Facebook, asking why she wouldn't acknowledge their relationship.

He was also aggressive about music selection and confronted Alvarado about inviting only Runions.

4:03 p.m. | Alvardo recalled meeting Runions a few months before the party at Yust's grandfather's house.

He said he was drawn to her and wanted to be friends, so he invited only her to the bonfire, though he knew Yust, too.

Yust was upset that he wasn't invited and continued to be uninvited.

He showed up with Runions anyway, Alvarado said.

3:56 p.m. | Alan Alvarado is called to the witness stand.

3:51 p.m. | Vess said Yust and Runions left and hit a car in the driveway on their way out. That was the last time Vess saw either of them.

She said Yust did not have marks on his face or hands when he left.

3:45 p.m. | Vess recalled Yust being "clingy" around Runions and how he got upset when she said she wanted to leave.

She said Yust told Runions she was just going to go back to Jaxxon.

Things escalated, Vess said, and Yust got physical with Alvarado.

Alvarado, who didn't ask people to leave his house according to Vess, told Yust to leave.

3:40 p.m. | Vess describes the gathering the night Runions went missing.

Alvarado hosted a bonfire after plans to go to a club downtown fell through.

Runions, Yust, Vess, her younger brother, Alvarado and some children were present.

Vess said she thought Yust looked drunk when he and Runions arrived, and recalled some erratic behavior on his part.

3:35 p.m. | Vess knew Runions and Alan Alvarado, who was the host of the party Runions was last seen at on Sept. 8, 2016.

3:33 p.m. | Tiffany Vess is called to the witness stand.

3:26 p.m. | Mallett said the last contact he had with Runions was around 10 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2016, after she told him she was going to a friend's house for a couple of drinks.

He said he though maybe she'd had too much to drink or her phone had died, and that she'd be there in the morning.

When she wasn't home in the morning, Mallett went with Jamie Runions to file a police report.

Mallett said he and Yust were friends but he cut off all contact with Yust when he learned he and Runions were seeing each other.

Mallett and Runions' relationship had been rocky since they moved in together, but they were trying to work things out. They kept living together though they slept in different areas of the house.

Yust came to the house the pair shared three or four times in the middle of the night, banged on the door and demanded to speak with Jessica.

Mallett said he was angry with her but also concerned for her safety.

3:15 p.m. | Jaxxon Mallett is called to the witness stand. He was dating Jessica Runions at the time she disappeared.

Mallet attended Belton High School and knew Yust since 2008. He said he also met Kopetsky a few times though he didn't know much about her relationship with Yust.

He met Runions through work at the Foxwood retirement home.

Yust told Mallett he didn't have anything to do with Kopetsky's disappearance.

2:52 p.m. | Court is in recess for 15 minutes.

2:50 p.m. | The prosecution hits several key points while question Jamie Runions.

On Sept. 9, 2016, Jamie was supposed to meet her daughter for a doctor appointment. She notes this was an important appointment for Jessica, as it would give her clearance to go back to work after an appendectomy.

When calls, texts and attempts to contact Jessica through Facebook went unanswered, Jamie said she called everyone she could think of.

Jamie later learned Jessica hadn't been seen since Sept. 8, 2016. She also learned while at the police department that Jessica had been involved with Kylr Yust, who she did not know at the time.

The mother described the next seven months until her daughter's remains were found as the longest of her life. She described search parties looking for Jessica, rain or shine.

Seven months after the 21-year-old went missing, her remains were found alongside Kopetsky's.

The Beckfords (Kopetsky's parents) and Jamie Runions are close, she said.

While the defense did not cross examine Jamie, they did object at times during her testimony for "heresay."

2:47 p.m. | Jamie Runions describes her daughter, her commitment to her sisters and their relationship.

2:37 p.m. | Jamie Runions, mother of alleged victim Jessica Runions, takes the witness stand.

2:36 p.m. | Hauger leaves the stand. He is subject to be called again today or tomorrow.

2:24 p.m. | During cross examination, the defense presents phone records Hauger said he had never seen before which appear to show Kopetsky's phone was active at 1:03 p.m. on the day she went missing.

2:22 p.m. | Hauger explains why there is a gap in Yust's phone records the day Kopetsky went missing.

He said T-Mobile was operating on 2G in 2007 and that system didn't capture all cell sites for certain calls.

2:15 p.m. | The prosecution engages Hauger in a lengthy, in-depth analysis of Kopetsky's phone records between May 3, 2007, and May 4, 2007.

He said his analysis showed Kopetsky called Yust on May 4, a call which lasted 61 seconds, and Yust called her back for a one-minute call. Her last call was at 10: 25 a.m.

Hauger said records do not show Kopetsky made any calls the night she went missing.

1:53 p.m. | Hauger shared a scary moment during the wire investigation where they lost contact with Farris.

1:50 p.m. | FBI agent John Hauger is called to the stand. He talks about his work with phone records and said he was present the day Katelyn Farris wore the wire.

1:45 p.m. | Kirkbride described Yust as "charismatic."

1:41 p.m. | Kirkbride seemed to get frustrated by the line of questioning from the defense.

1:37 p.m. | The defense tries to cast doubt on Kirkbride's testimony.

1:33 p.m. | The defense questioned why Kirkbride did not report the claims Yust made to the police.

1:25 p.m. | Witness Nick Kirkbride takes the stand and discusses his interaction with Yust.

12:15 p.m. | Court is in recess for a lunch break.

12:12 p.m | In cross examination, the defense focuses on the fact that it took years for Caponetto to come forward with the story. They ask him if he truly felt Yust was dangerous, why did he wait to tell his story?

The defense also notes Caponetto was on probation for selling marijuana at the time.

The prosecution again questions Caponetto and asks him if he feels terrible about not coming forward sooner.

Caponetto appears to get emotional and said it's one of the worst things that's happened in his life.

He also says he didn't come forward sooner because he wanted to believe the best about Yust. He didn't want to believe the person he'd been on-and-off friends with for years was capable of doing such a thing.

11:53 a.m. | Caponetto said Yust and Candice St. Clair (Matthews) lived with him and Nick Kirkbride for a time.

One night, Caponetto said Yust came home extremely drunk without St. Clair, and he was concerned about the situation.

"One thing led to another," Caponetto said, and Yust told him he'd killed Kopetsky.

During the alleged confession, Yust asked Caponetto if he'd ever loved someone so much that he'd rather see them dead than with someone else.

He allegedly told Caponetto he strangled Kopetsky but didn't say what he did with her body. Yust also said Kopetsky wasn't the only he'd ever killed.

Caponetto recalled being concerned for his safety because Yust was extremely emotional.

Caponetto said Yust told him he would leave behind a folder of evidence if Caponetto partnered with him on a music project in which Yust would commit suicide on stage.

Caponetto said he knew about Yust's connections to missing people and went to the police with this story after Jessica Runions' disappearance was tied to him in 2016.

The prosecution asked Caponetto why he didn't tell law enforcement about the confession sooner, and Caponetto said Yust threatened his life if he told anyone. He also said he didn't know what to do with the information because the details were so vague.

Nick Kirkbride, another witness for the prosecution, lived there at the time and also heard the conversation.

11:49 a.m. | Aaron Caponetto, who said he once considered himself a friend of Yust's, takes the witness stand.

11: 46 a.m. | Kylr Yust's former friend and bandmate Jack Crewse is on the witness stand.

He talks about a time he saw Yust and Kopetsky get in an argument and Yust smashed a glass frame.

The defense didn't have any questions for him.

11:34 a.m. | The defense focuses on discrepancies in Duncan's account in cross examination.

11:27 a.m. | A former roommate of Yust's, Seth Duncan, has taken the witness stand.

Duncan informs the jury that he overdosed on heroin a couple years ago and briefly died. Though he sometimes has difficulty getting words out, his memory is intact.

Duncan recalls a time when Yust told him he and Kopetsky had gotten into an argument and Yust restrained her when the fight escalated.

He said Yust told him "he choked her out."

11:21 a.m. | The defense has finished questioning Farris and she is off the stand.

11:16 a.m. | The defense team is cross examining Farris.

Their line of questioning focuses on the possibility Farris wore the wire to obtain reward money in the case, and the fact that she didn't outright refuse several of his advances.

The defense appears to be arguing that Farris used the possibility of sex as a way to coerce him into a confession.

11:11 a.m. | The prosecution wrapped up their questioning by asking Farris why she wore the wire.

Farris said she felt conflicted about it because she was good friends with Yust, but ultimately said she did it because “if I was in that position, I would have wanted someone to do the same for me."

11:08 a.m. | Farris described what she and Yust did during the recording, which included gathering supplies for the Ouija board.

She also described the area they went to use the board, though she didn't know if it was the exact location Yust allegedly took Kopetsky's body.

10:54 a.m. | Court has resumed. Katelyn Farris has again taken the witness stand and the prosecution is questioning her about the events which transpired on the wiretap.

10: 23 a.m. | The recording has ended and court is in recess.

10:20 a.m. | Farris and Yust have parted ways in the wiretap recording. The end of the clip included a lot of small talk as the two ate and drove.

9:55 a.m. | Yust can be heard saying "I f****** killed her," on the wiretap recording.

9:45 a.m. | After finishing with the Ouija board, Farris and Yust go through a drive-thru, where this exchange happens:

Yust: "This really turns you on tat I killed a girl?"
Farris: "It doesn't really turn me on."
Yust: "Why were you saying all that b***s*** one day? Just because you were trying to get me to confess?

9:02 a.m. | The prosecution has continued to play out the conversation from the wire. Katelyn Farris and Yust can be heard trying to contact Kopetsky with a Ouija board.

8:46 a.m. | Court resumed and the audio recording is being played from the wire. The first portion was heard Wednesday.

8:20 a.m. | Thursday marks the fourth day of the Kylr Yust murder trial.

On Wednesday, the jury heard from Belton police about phone records for the day Kara Kopetsky went missing.

They also heard from former girlfriends of Yust who talked about aggressive comments and actions Yust had made.

The prosecution played an audio recording from a wire one of those former girlfriends wore when talking to Yust, and will play more of the audio in the courtroom Thursday morning to be entered into evidence.

Prosecutors have yet to call any witnesses related to the death of Jessica Runions, and seem to be working chronologically up from Kara's disappearance in 2007.

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.