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BLOG: Witness testimony continues in Yust murder trial

Dr.Diane Peterson
Children's Mercy Toxicologist
Justin Claibourn.jpg
Kieth Todd.jpg
John Hauger Yust trial.jpg
Posted at 8:44 AM, Apr 10, 2021

4:21 p.m. | After an extensive testimony by Peterson, court went to recess for the remainder of the day.

Court will resume on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

4:12 p.m. | Peterson said she could not rule out strangulation as the cause of death for Runions and Kopetsky.

4:01 p.m. | After examining the remains of Runions and Kopetsky, Peterson said there was no signs of trauma found on the remains.

3:46 p.m. | Peterson gave an extensive explanation of how remains are examined and the process involved. In addition, photos of skulls of both women were shown to the jury and courtroom.

3:25 p.m. | Out of 205 human bones, just over 50 of Kopetsky's bones were recovered. A similar number were found for Runions.

3:22 p.m. | According to Peterson, a clump of hair was found with Runions' remains. The hair was still contained in a hair tie.

3:15 p.m. | Peterson also said there was no indication that the bodies of Runions and Kopetsky were buried.

3:11 p.m. | According to Peterson, origin point of bodies can be determined by the richness and lushness of the vegetation in the area.

Peterson said vegetation in the area is "markedly different from its surrounding areas."

3:04 p.m. | Peterson who examined Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions' remains said after Kopetsky's skull was found, one of her investigators found a second skull which turned out to be Runions' remains.

2:49 p.m. | After court resumed, the first witness to testify was Dr.Diane Peterson, a former Jackson County Medical Examiner.

Peterson examined remains of both Jessica Runions and Kara Kopetsky in 2017.

2:19 p.m. | After Davis' testimony, the court went into a 15 minute recess.

2:11 p.m. | The next witness called to the stand was Charity Davis, a DNA expert from an FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.

A bone was submitted to her lab so a DNA profile could be established for Kara Kopetsky.

Davis said she was able to establish a DNA profile for Kopetsky from the bone submitted to her lab.

2:08 p.m. | Through wires from orthodontics work and fillings, Jessica Runions remains were positively identified, Filippi testified.

1:58 p.m. | During his examination, Filippi examined Kopetsky's skull with some teeth in it and some teeth recovered not in the skull. He replaced one tooth into a socket where it had come out.

1:56 p.m. | In his testimony, Filippi walked through some of the process of when he examined and matched the dental records of Kopetsky and Runions.

1:43 p.m. | Filippi testified he had to do a hands on examination of Kara Kopetsky's remains and Runions before and after dental records were sent to him.

1:36 p.m. | Dr. John Filippi, a dental records expert, was called to the stand.

He was asked to review Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions dental records for possible identification.

1:30 p.m. | Children's Mercy toxicology director Dr. Garg, testified that ideal tissue to test would be blood. However, they only had Runions' decomposed brain tissue.

1:23 p.m. | A second toxicologist was called to the stand. Conversations about Runions' toxicology report continued.

1:16 p.m. | Results of Jessica Runions toxicology from decomposed brain matter showed nicotene, but no THC from marijuana which typically doesn't show up in this type of test.

1:10 p.m. | Court resumed just over an hour after it moved to recess for lunch.

The first witness after lunch to testify was a toxicologist from Children's Mercy Hospital.

She analyzed brain matter from Runions.

12:01 a.m. | Cass County deputy Justin Claibourn, who responded to the scene when Todd found the remains was called to the stand.

After his testimony, the court moved to recess for lunch.

11:57 a.m. | Todd admitted he was trespassing on the day he found the remains. He was paid $50,000 in reward money by the FBI.

However, he also said he was not hunting for the reward money and instead was mushroom hunting.

11:52 a.m | Todd is recounting the day he found the remains. He confirmed finding a skull in April of 2017.

11:46 a.m. | Keith Todd, the mushroom hunter who found Jessica Runions' remains in the woods in 2017 is now on the witness stand.

11:41 a.m. | Hauger was asked if at any time Yust's phone was in the area where remains were found in Sept. 2016 when Runions disappeared, he said no.

His testimony ended for the day after that.

11:27 a.m. | Phone records show that on Sept. 9, 2016, phone calls were made from Runions' phone to Jessep Carter's phone on three separate occasions in the morning.

Yust also texted Runions' phone later that night.

11:23 a.m. | Hauger said he was told about potential phone location records from Yust in 2017. He testified that Yust's records from Sept. 2016, when Jessica Runions disappeared, would've been long gone.

11:22 a.m. | Hauger answered questions regarding the accuracy cell phone data points. Hauger said they can be accurate in but wouldn't use one specific point because it can also be inaccurate.

10:57 a.m. | According to Hauger, he didn't receive phone records from 2007 until 2020.

10:53 a.m. | The court resumed from recess and Hauger was back on stand under cross-examination about his analysis of phone records in the case.

10:32 a.m. | Hauger said Jessep Carter's phone was not in the area at the time of Jessica's disappearance. The court moved to recess.

10:08 a.m. | Jessica's last voice call was 8:20 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2016, according to Special Agent John Hauger, who we heard from earlier in the week about Kara's phone records.

9:58 a.m. | The prosecution is presenting information on phone records in the Runions case.

9:57 a.m. | McKarnin, lead detective on the Kopetsky case, said three months after her death Yust's vehicle was tracked to near where her remains were found.

9:51 a.m. | The second witness called Saturday is Belton police Det. Pat McKarnin.

9:49 a.m. | Findley now says he had no reason to think Carter was a suspect.

9:34 a.m. | The jury left the room but Findley is still being questioned.

9:27 a.m. | Court took a brief recess after Findley's testimony.

9:17 a.m. | Findley mentions Jessep Carter as a suspect in the Jessica case which the prosecution objects to.

9:12 a.m. | The defense is cross-examining Findley about the timeline of Jessica's disappearance.

9:03 a.m. | Findley said Yust had a friend that lived not far from where Jessica and Kara's remains were found.

8:58 a.m. | Findley was first involved in the investigation with Jessica's disappearance and followed up on tips and leads. He presented a map of where the remains were found and talked about messages exchanged between Jessica and Yust.

8:49 a.m. | The first witness called to the stand is Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department Det. Jason Findley who is asked about a search warrant.

8:30 a.m. | Saturday marks the sixth day of the Kylr Yust murder trial and is expected to continue with evidence presented by the state.

On Friday, the prosecution focused on the Jessica Runions case.

The widow of Yust's brother testified about the night Yust came to them around the time when Jessica disappeared. It was an interesting story about Yust having Jessep Carter and his wife drive him around to different locations and seemingly on edge.

The state also focused on evidence from when Jessica's car was found burned. They had experts talk about injuries that would be sustained from burning a car using gas, and presented photos and samples from Yust saying that he sustained those injuries at the time.

Saturday's court session is expected to be shorter but the prosecution has 10 witnesses on the list.

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.