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BLOG: 15 witnesses testify in 2nd day of Kylr Yust trial

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Posted at 8:34 AM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 17:36:19-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 4:35 p.m. | Court has recessed for the day. The trial will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

4:30 p.m. | The state called Joel Harmon to testify. Harmon said his and Kopetsky's families were friends and the two had been briefly romantically involved.

Harmon said Kopetsky mentioned Yust to him as someone she might want to date. Later, he said Kopetsky confided in him that Yust was abusive and had allegedly put his hands around her neck.

In cross examination, the defense asked Harmon to read statements he gave, in which he doesn't mention the abuse.

3:54 p.m. | The state called retired Belton police detective Mike Clark to the witness stand. He is a 34-year veteran of the department and interviewed Yust on May 7, 2007, three days after Kopetsky went missing.

3:40 p.m. | Kansas City, Missouri, Officer Matt Rittenhouse takes the witness stand. He worked at Belton Police Department in 2007 and had some involvement in the search for Kopetsky in the days following her disappearance.

The defense's cross examination focused on reports Kopetsky had been seen at a local QuikTrip and Rittenhouse's alleged failure to obtain surveillance footage from the convenience store.

Rittenhouse said as a patrol officer, it wasn't his responsibility to follow up on leads in the case.

3:34 p.m. | Eidson recalls interviewing Yust about Kopetsky. Yust told Eidson that he loved Kopetsky and wouldn't do anything to her.

Eidson said something that stood out to him was that Yust spoke about Kopetsky in the past tense, though the defense pointed out he did not include that in his report.

3:22 p.m. | Court resumed with Steve Eidson called to the stand as the twelfth witness in the case. Edison was a patrol officer at Belton Police Department who conducted preliminary case work when Kopetsky went missing.

2:50 p.m. | Trial is in recess for 15 minutes.

2:20 p.m. | Another of Kopetsky's friends, Amy Clark, is testifying.

Clark said Kopetsky showed up at her house with signs of abuse one day and Yust was continuously calling her.

Clark said she picked up Kopetsky's phone because she wanted him to stop calling. Clark said Yust told her "If I can't have her, nobody can."

After this incident, Clark recalled none of her friends were able to contact Kopetsky. Clark said she had a feeling something bad had happened to Kopetsky so she reported her missing to Belton police.

2:12 p.m. | Afton Sanchez, who said she was Kopetsky's best friend, was called to the witness stand, where she testified about Kopetsky and Yust's relationship.

Sanchez recalled the pair fought a lot and said she told Kopetsky to report the abuse.

In cross examination, the defense told Sanchez she knew of the alleged abuse but "you basically did nothing."

2:06 p.m. | Squires testified he tried to call Kopetsky and received no answer.

2:01 p.m. | Jeremy Squires is called as a witness. He took the missing persons report about Kara from her friend Amy Clark.

2 p.m. | A former girlfriend of Kylr Yust was called as a witness.

1:52 p.m. | The defense cross-examined Talley.

1:41 p.m. | Prosecutors called witness Ryan Talley to the stand.

1:28 p.m. | Defense began cross-examination of Smith.

1:12 p.m. | Court resumed after lunch with witness Jennifer Smith on the stand.

11:44 a.m. | Judge Collins dismissed court for a lunch break.

11:39 a.m. | The defense continues to grill Reynolds about holes in his story, including asking why it took him so long to tell police he believed he heard Yust's truck in the background of Kopetsky's phone call.

Reynolds repeatedly says at the time he was a 17-year-old "pothead" who was scared to talk to the police.

10:57 a.m. | Kyle Reynolds is the next witness to take the stand. Reynolds was in a death metal band with Yust, but said he didn't have much contact with Kopetsky.

Reynolds said Kopetsky called him on May 4, 2007, asking if she and Yust could hang out with him, which was unusual. Later that afternoon, Yust went to Reynolds' house and was acting agitated. The prosecution asked Reynolds to describe with actions how Yust was acting.

Reynolds initially didn't tell police he went to buy marijuana. When that detail came out later, Reynolds was charged and pleaded guilty to changing his story. The defense opens with this point in cross examination.

10:41 a.m. | Det. Pat McKarnin is on the witness stand. He has been with the Belton Police Department for more than 30 years and was a school resource officer at Belton High School during Kopetsky's time there.

McKarnin said he was the one to review surveillance footage from the morning of May 4, 2007, the day Kopetsky went missing, which included her last known sighting.

10:31 a.m. | The defense is cross-examining Jackson.

10:24 a.m. | Jackson shares Kara often had bruises and said Yust had a fantasy of killing her.

10:21 a.m. | The prosecution called Jeff Jackson, a friend of Kara's, to the stand.

9:49 a.m. | Defense finished cross-examination of Officer Bruegge.

9:36 a.m. | The prosecution begins questioning Officer Bruegge about an incident involving Yust before Kara's disappearance.

9:32 a.m. | The second witness on the stand is Belton Police Officer Mary Bruegge.

9:25 a.m. | Defense began cross-examination of Beckford.

9:16 a.m. | Prosecution has wrapped their questioning of Beckford.

9:10 a.m. | Beckford discusses her relationship with the family of Jessican Runions.

9:05 a.m. | Beckford recounts the last time she saw Kara.

8:57 a.m. | Reporter Andres Gutierrez shares pieces of Beckford's testimony.

8:47 a.m. | The prosecution is beginning their case against Yust by establishing his relationship with Kara Kopetsky.

8:40 a.m. | The first witness to testify Tuesday will be victim Kara Kopetsky's mother, Rhonda Beckford.

8:30 a.m. | Tuesday marks the second day of the murder trial for Kylr Yust, and the first full day of arguments.

On Monday, jurors were brought in from St. Charles County and heard opening arguments from the prosecution and defense.

The prosecution presented an argument about Yust's involvement with both Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. The defense presented an argument of Yust's innocence and questioned the credibility of witnesses.

Judge Collins called court early to give jurors an opportunity to rest after a travel day.

Yust is charged with first-degree murder in the 2007 death of Kara Kopetsky and the 2016 death of Jessica Runions.

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.