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BLOG: Defense calls DNA expert in Yust trial

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Posted at 8:40 AM, Apr 13, 2021

3:40 p.m. | Court is in recess for the day.

3:37 p.m. | Judge Collins will not allow the jury to hear J.S.'s testimony. He said it does not meet the stipulations of a three-pronged test required to admit a hearsay testimony under due process.

3:30 p.m. | The prosecution is cross examining J.S.

They appear to be making the argument J.S. made the statement about Bayes to lessen jail time he was facing.

J.S. said he never walked back his statement, as some reports indicated, though the prosecution said he failed a polygraph test conducted by the FBI.

The defense argues the prosecution can re-cross examine Bayes if they'd like and J.S.'s testimony should be admissible in court.

The prosecution is arguing the credibility of this witness, a known crystal methamphetamine dealer.

3:15 p.m. | Court has resumed for offers of proof.

A witness for the defense identified only by the initials J.S. said Billy Bayes told him he got high with a girl who "flopped," or overdosed.

Bayes said he and another man started to take her to the hospital when she died and they instead disposed of the body.

J.S. said Bayes told him it was "the missing Belton girl," presumably Kara Kopetsky.

2:45 p.m. | Judge Collins briefly brought the jury back in to read them instructions and dismiss them for the day. He, the attorneys and Yust will remain to hear more offers of proof this afternoon.

1:57 p.m. | The jury quickly hears from an apartment manager where Yust used to live. Then the court took recess.

1:54 p.m. | A former girlfriend of Yust who reached out to him after seeing a special on Kara's disappearance is briefly called to the stand.

1:43 p.m. | Blackwell said she found blood but not urine. There's no way to know if that was the clothing Yust was wearing when Jessica went missing.

1:41 p.m. | The next witness is Nicole Blackwell, who checked Yust's clothing for DNA samples on Sept. 11, 2016.

1:35 p.m. | The defense called KCPD trace evidence supervisor of the KCPD Crime Lab Kevin Winer to the stand. He held the position during the Runions disappearance. He said it rained on Sept. 8 and 9 of 2016.

1:20 p.m. | Dr. Snow said he believes there were flaws in evidence collection at the site of the remains.

1:06 p.m. | The defense calls its next witness: forensic anthropologist Dr. Rick Snow.

1:01 p.m. | Judge Williams Collins said Taylor-Austin's testimony doesn't meet the reliability standard and will be excluded from the trial.

12:54 p.m. | Taylor-Austin concludes her testimony in the offer of proof hearing with no cross-examination from the prosecution. The defense and state are now arguing the admissibility of the testimony.

12:47 p.m. | The prosecution has objected to Taylor-Austin's testimony on the grounds of its relevancy. The judge is allowing her to get to her conclusion before deciding whether or not the jury can hear it.

12:42 p.m. | Taylor-Austin is now walking the courtroom through her analysis of what she believes to be Gematria code.

12:30 p.m. | Taylor-Austin said she interviewed a number of people, including Yust, during her analysis of what appeared to be a coded message Carter left behind.

She said she also used a Bible to try to decode the message, but that was difficult because it's unknown what version of the Bible Carter used.

12:15 p.m. | The jury is still in recess as the rest of the courtroom hears an offer of proof from a codes expert for the defense.

Lisa Taylor-Austin is a psychotherapist and expert on gangs who specializes in gang and prison codes.

The defense is bringing her in to talk about the notepad left in Jessep Carter's jail cell.

The judge will decide if the jury can hear this testimony or not.

12:03 p.m. | Court is in recess as the defense lines up additional witnesses.

12:01 p.m. | Armstrong's testimony is excluded, the judge rules, based on the reliability, accuracy and relevancy of his account.

11:49 a.m. | The judge will not allow the jury to hear Armstrong's testimony about the surveillance video.

The defense is now asking him about what he personally observed on Sept. 9, 2016.

11:30 a.m. | The jury is again dismissed from the courtroom as the state and judge hear testimony from Anthony "Tony" Armstrong, whose son is Jessep Carter's cousin.

The defense and state are questioning him about surveillance video he reviewed from a neighboring property in Lone Jack.

11:23 a.m. | With the jury back in the courtroom, the defense calls Judy Young to the stand.

She said she reported seeing Runions' SUV in an area commonly used to dump trash in 2016.

11:13 a.m. | The defense is asking two investigators about a gold station wagon which they are trying to argue belonged to Jessep Carter.

The judge ruled to exclude that testimony on the grounds it is not relevant to the case.

The prosecution reiterates that it's Kylr Yust on trial, not Carter.

11:05 a.m. | Court is back in session but the jury is not in the room as the defense runs through a couple offers of proof.

After hearing these testimonies, the judge will decide if they are relevant to the case and can be heard by the jury.

10:30: a.m. | Court is in short recess.

10:15 a.m. | The prosecution continues questioning Trainum about the timeline of events, this time after Runions' disappearance.

Trainum said he reviewed thousands of documents and has trouble remembering some of the specifics about this case.

The expert also said it is natural for homicide investigations to become suspect-driven. The problem in this case is that there was also confirmation bias at play, he said.

9:50 a.m. | Trainum said cross contamination of testimony can occur in a case such as this, when several witnesses are from the same area and are connected.

Trainum also said cases like Kopetsky's can be tricky due to the length of time and memory could affect testimony.

During cross examination, the prosecution questions Trainum about the timeline of the Kopetsky case, particularly noting the history of domestic abuse and cellphone records.

9:40 a.m. | With the jury returned, Trainum talks about third parties approaching witnesses.

9:29 a.m. | The state makes an objection to Trainum's testimony so the jury leaves the room for attorneys to conference with the judge.

9:19 a.m. | Trainum cites "supervisory" issues in the investigation.

9:14 a.m. | Trainum discusses an investigation a Kansas City, Missouri, Police Officer carried out of their own accord.

9:08 a.m. | Trainum points out failures in the investigation, specifically regarding Yust's alibi.

9:02 a.m. | The defense is paying Trainum to review the case.

8:59 a.m. | Trainum talks about the pressure of high-profile investigations.

8:52 a.m. | Police procedure expert James Trainum is being asked about possible errors in the investigations.

8:45 a.m. | The defense called Matthew Bauchle as their first witness of the day. He testifies regarding Yust's alibi of visiting a relative at Carondelet Manor.

8:30 a.m. | As the murder trial of Kylr Yust enters its seventh day, the defense is expected to continue to present their case.

On Monday, the defense had their first day to begin their case, but the jury spent most of the day outside of the courtroom as the defense team had to first introduce new witnesses to the judge for admission.

Those included prison guards present at Jessep Carter's death, paralegals who worked on the case previously and a possible alternate suspect in the Kara Kopetsky case.

The defense appears to be trying to paint other people, including Carter, as potential suspects that were not thoroughly investigated.

Judge William Collins ultimately did not allow testimony about Carter's suicide in prison to go before the jury.

The jury was allowed to hear the deposition taken from Yust's grandfather, Alfred Yust, before his death.

The defense has 16 witnesses to call on Tuesday.

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.