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BLOG: No verdict expected Wednesday in Kylr Yust murder trial

Jury to recess at 10 p.m.
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kylr yust on the witness stand
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Posted at 8:24 AM, Apr 14, 2021

8:41 p.m. | The jury is expected to recess at 10 p.m. A verdict is not expected Wednesday night.

6:14 p.m. | Court is in recess and the jury has received the case for deliberation.

6:10 p.m. | The prosecution has put a timer up on the screen in the courtroom, set to a minute and a half to represent the amount of time it would have taken to strangle Kopetsky and Runions to death.

Tolle asks the jury to think about the girls as the clock ticks down.

"That's deliberation," she says.

6:02 p.m. | Tolle continues hammering defense points, including their argument the analysis of Runions' brain matter should have shown levels of THC given how soon before her death she supposedly smoke marijuana.

5:59 p.m. | Tolle calls the defense's attempts to discredit witnesses' testimony "offensive."

5:49 p.m. | The state is allowed to speak to the jury once more. Tolle brings up phone records again.

"Let's talk about evidence," she said.

5:45 p.m. | The defense is wrapping up their closing arguments. Turlington said there is a lot of emotion in this case and asks the jury to try not to let that affect their verdict.

5:40 p.m. | Turlington is addressing what she calls unanswered questions. She says it's not actually known how Kopetsky died, but there could have been an indicator that she did not die from strangulation — the hyoid bone.

Turlington alleges those bones were not found for either of the girls, possibly because of poor search tactics.

5:21 p.m. | Turlington focuses on timeline. She shows the jury how the defense believes it's not possible for Yust to have committed these crimes based on timing alone, not to mention DNA and cell phone records.

5:00 p.m. | Turlington continues in attempts to cast doubts on the prosecution's description of cell phone data.

4:47 p.m. | Defense attorney Sharon Turlington approaches the jury.

She says the prosecution's case relies on talk.

"Talks is cheap, and sometimes words don’t mean anything,” Turlington said. "So, what does the evidence say in this case, the science?”

She says there is no physical evidence and asks the jury how likely it is that Yust pulled off two murders without a trace.

4:45 p.m. | The defense is preparing to deliver closing arguments.

4:40 p.m. | Tolle continues with the timeline of events, talking about what Yust allegedly did after Runions' death through the time mushroom hunter Keith Todd found the girls' remains.

4: 30 p.m. | Tolle talks about the scratches found on Yust's hand and face. She tells the jury that Yust is obsessive and can't handle rejection, and that's why he deliberately killed both Kopetsky and Runions.

4:15 p.m. | Tolle goes over each alleged confession Yust made to friends.

4:00 p.m. | Assitant prosecuting attorney Julie Tolle presents the state's closing arguments. She encourages the jurors to use their best reasoning in this case.

She is also taking the the jurors through one of the instruction documents.

3:45 p.m. | Closing arguments have begun. The state is up first.

3:38 p.m. | The defense has rested its case. The judge is now reading some instructions to the jury.

3:32 p.m. | The judge is going over jury verdict rules with the defense and prosecution.

These had to be altered once Yust decided to testify.

3:03 p.m. | The court takes a recess for the afternoon break. It appears the judge may review jury rules with the prosecution and defense.

3:02 p.m. | The prosecution concludes its questioning of Yust. The defense does not seek to question him further.

2:58 p.m. | Yust said he didn't tell law enforcement about Carter before because he didn't trust police and he knew he would have a chance to "speak my peace here on this stand."

2:52 p.m. | A tense exhange between Yust and the defense:

2:47 p.m. | The state grills Yust about his hands, saying he prided himself on their strength as a tattoo artist. Tolle called them Yust's "preferred weapon."

2:39 p.m. | The prosecution now asking Yust about Candice Matthews. Tolle points out Yust's use of the word "restrained."

2:35 p.m. | Tolle questions Yust about the wiretap recording from Katelyn Farris.

2:30 p.m. | Tolle moves on to the alleged confessions Yust made to friends.

2:25 p.m. | The prosecution now asks Yust about Runions and his relationship with his mother.

He said he was egging her on in a jailhouse phone call because he wanted to make her feel like a bad mom.

2:19 p.m. | The prosecution points out this is the first time Yust has said Carter was with him when Kopetsky was picked up from school.

Assitant prosecuting attorney Julie Tolle says Yust has had a multitude of opportunities to come forward with his story, and yet he did not.

Yust said he did tell his attorney Molly Hastings this version of his account "years ago."

2:16 p.m. | The prosecution is questioning aspects of Yust's story in terms of his whereabouts when Kopetsky went missing.

2:14 p.m. | Prosecutors have moved on to questioning Yust about his inconsistencies regarding the last time he saw Kopetsky. During his testimony earlier in the afternoon, he admitted for the first time that he saw her on May 4.

2:10 p.m. | As part of the questioning about Yust's relation with Kopetsky, Yust admitted that he was angry that Kopetsky was moving on.

2:07 p.m. | The prosecution is questioning Yust about his relationship with Kopetsky. He described it as "toxic."

2:04 p.m. | The state begins its cross examination of Kylr Yust.

2:03 p.m. | Yust said he said a lot of untrue things out of hurt, hopelessness and for attention.

He said he thought at the time, "might as well just be famous for something, right?"

2:00 p.m. | Yust said he was hurting and thought he could trust and confide in his grandfather and mother. On a recorded phone call, when Yust spoke with his mother and she started accusing him of the murders, he got angry and said things to upset her and hurt her feelings. They haven't talked since.

1:59 p.m. | Yust said he felt like giving up. He knew he was going to be blamed for Runions' disappearance, he said.

1:58 p.m. | Yust said he saw a state trooper's vehicle outside the trailer and he was told to come out with his hands up.

He said he did, and was arrested.

1:57 p.m. | Yust said he stayed at the trailer and didn't seek help because he didn't realize how badly burned he was. He also said he wanted to find out more information about Runions so he would have more information to give.

He said he was afraid people wouldn't believe him if he didn't have more proof about what happened.

1:55 p.m. | Yust said Carter and Taylor dropped him off at an abandoned trailer. He said he knew something weird was going on.

Carter and Taylor left.

Yust said he found an aluminum bat and hammer and kept them close by in case another person showed up with a gun.

1:55 p.m. | Yust said he felt that if he said anything about Runions, he would be blamed for her disappearance because of what happened with Kopetsky.

1:50 p.m. | Yust said they stopped at Carter's cousin Anthony's house, where Carter broke down a door.

He said they left about 20 minutes later, he fell asleep in the car ride.

When he woke up, there were lights and sirens and cops trying to pull them over.

Yust said it took Carter five to 10 minutes to pull over.

He learned later there was a weapon in the car.

1:47 p.m. | After around an hour, they went back to his grandfather's house. He asked Carter if they could talk about Runions.

They went to the garage to talk, and Carter left for 30-45 minutes.

Yust said during this time he stayed in the garage, smoking cigarettes and felt very upset.

1:45 p.m. | Yust said while at the uncle's house, he questioned Carter about Runions.

Yust said he was burned while trying to light a fire in burn barrels at the property. He didn't know what was in the barrels.

1:43 p.m. | Yust said he, Carter and Carter's wife Crystal Taylor went to Carter's uncle's house.

He said while there, Alvarado called him and asked about Runions. Yust said he told him to file a police report since no one had heard from her.

1:41 p.m. | Yust said he was going to go down to the Lake of the Ozarks for his birthday.

The transmission in his car went out, so Carter picked him up around 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. to take him.

Yust said Carter was drunk and obnoxious when he showed up.

Since he'd just gotten his federal ankle monitor off, he wanted to go somewhere, not just stay at his grandfather's.

1:38 p.m. | Yust said Runions drove him to his grandfather's house and helped him get in. During that time, he said he saw Jessep Carter's white Durango pull up.

Yust said he saw Runions' car in the driveway but she was not there.

He said he left work early because he was hungover and stayed home until that night .

Yust said he tried to get in contact with Carter through his mom.

1:36 p.m. | The defense now asks Yust about the night Runions went missing.

He acknowledges he was very drunk.

Yust said Alan Alvarado, the party's host and friend of Yust's, told him he wanted to get to know Runions to see if she was a good fit for him.

1:34 p.m. | As for Mallett's account that Yust showed up at their door in the middle of the night, Yust said she had disappeared from his home in the night.

He said he had a feeling she was going back and forth between him and Mallett and he wanted to talk about it.

Turlington makes a point to say Yust didn't have a weapon and didn't assault anyone.

Yust said this only happened once that he remembered, though Mallett said previously it happened three or four times.

1:33 p.m. | Yust describes Runions.

"She was so cool," she was "the kind of person you just trust," "she was very fund, joking," Yust said.

1:30 p.m. | After he got out of prison, Yust said he was contacted by Officer Joshua Meirer.

He was also hanging out with Jaxxon Mallett, Jessica Runions' boyfriend at the time.

Yust said he didn't want to get involved with her because he was good friends with Mallett, but that ultimately friendly hanging out evolved into a more involved relationship.

1:28 p.m. | Yust said Matthews broke up with him three days before he was supposed to go to prison on the drug charge.

He was upset and got really drunk, which is when his alleged confession to Nick Kirkbride and Aaron Caponetto happened.

Yust describes himself rambling about how Kopetsky's disappearance had ruined his life.

1:26 p.m. | Yust talks about a prior conviction for ordering drugs on the internet. He served 45 months in prison for that incident.

He also had a prior stealing conviction.

1:23 p.m. | Yust said he pleaded guilty to a municpal charge after an incident involving former girlfriend Candice Matthews because he was told even restraining her after she'd hit him was domestic assault.

Yust denies her account of what happened during the alleged attack.

1:21 p.m. | Yust said FBI agents visited him after Farris hung out with him. He said he showed them the text messages between him and Farris. He was not arrested that day.

1:18 p.m. | Yust said in contact with Farris after she moved, their communication became sexual in nature.

In one text, he said she implied she thought it was hot he was a suspect in a murder case.

Yust said he started playing into that narrative because he liked Farris.

1:16 p.m. | Yust is now talking about his relationship with Katelyn Farris, who wore a wire to attempt to catch his confession. That recording was played in court.

They briefly dated before Farris entered into a contract marriage and moved cross country.

1:15 p.m. | Turlington is now asking Yust about alleged confessions he made to some people.

The first instance discussed is a confession to Yeates in a Burger King parking lot while drunk.

Yust said he sometimes did things for attention and was going through a lot at the time in terms of relationships and jobs.

1:13 p.m. | Yust said he continued to stick to this story when talking to cops later because he thought he'd get in more trouble about lying.

Yust said rumors started flying around. He said some people remained his friend, some sought to know him because of the alleged crime, others hated him.

He said the people who supported him started dwindling as time went one.

Yust said he became extremely depressed, started drinking more and using drugs.

1:09 p.m. | Yust talked to police a few days later.

Turlington points out he went to the station willingly and was not under arrest.

Yust said he did not tell officers the complete truth at the time because the ex parte order was still in place and he didn't want to get in trouble.

1:07 p.m. | After band practice, Yust said he went back to his apartment in Belton.

At some point later, he started to hear from people looking for Kopetsky.

Kopetsky's aunt and uncle showed up to his apartment and came in to see if she was there, Yust said.

A friend of Kopetsky's also called.

At this point, Yust said he wasn't worried about Kopetsky because he thought she might be hanging out somewhere and just didn't want to go home.

1:06 p.m. | Yust said he returned to his apartment, changed clothes and then went back to Reynolds, where he said he and several other people hung out and smoked weed before band practice.

1:04 p.m. | Yust said he stopped at Reynolds' house on his way to his grandfather's house. Reynolds told him to come back later for weed.

He went to his grandfather's house, where he filled up his truck with gas, ate lunch and then went to visit his aunt at Carondelet Manor.

He drove separately and left before his grandparents from the nursing home.

1:01 p.m. | Yust said he had plans to visit his aunt in a nursing home but Kopetsky didn't want to go.

He said Carter instead took her to the skate park.

Yust said he left alone.

The attorneys briefly approach the bench after the state objects.

1:00 p.m. | Yust said Kopetsky called Reynolds about pot. He said they didn't explicitly discuss pot over the phone, rather she asked if they could come over and hang out.

12:59 p.m. | Yust said he wasn't driving when they picked her up — Carter did.

They all went back to Yust's apartment, which he shared with Nick Yeates. Yust said Kopetsky wanted to smoke pot but he didn't have any and needed to get in touch with Kyle Reynolds to get some.

12:57 p.m. | Yust recalls talking to Kara on May 4, 2007. She wanted him to pick her up from school. He initially said no but then agreed.

Yust said his step-brother, Jessep Carter, was with him when he picked up Kopetsky.

12:56 p.m. | Yust is talking about an incident in which he kidnapped Kopetsky. Afterward, she got an ex parte order against him.

He doesn't deny that he and Kopetsky fought but said he never held a knife to her throat.

12:47 p.m. | Yust has taken the witness stand. His defense is questioning him on some of his background.

Attorney Sharon Turlington shows the jury a picture of Yust with his grandparents from a church directory.

12:45 p.m. | Yust has decided to testify in his own defense.

The jury is being brought back into the courtroom now.

11:35 a.m. | Court is in recess for lunch break. The jury will return at 12:45 p.m.

The judge, prosecution and defense will reconvene at 12:30 p.m., at which point Yust is expected to make a decision on whether or not he will testify in his own defense.

11:24 a.m. | The prosecution points out two periods of time on the days the girls went missing during which Yust's phone was inactive.

The state also asks Grabski about texts Yust sent to Kara later in the day on May 4, 2007.

11:14 a.m. | The prosecution is cross examining Grabski. They point out that his findings aren't different from what their witness, FBI agent John Hauger, told the jury.

11:10 a.m. | Grabsi said Runions' phone was last active just after midnight on Sept. 9, 2016. He said the records show Yust tried to contact Runions multiple times on Sept. 9.

10:56 a.m. | Grabski also analyzed records in the Runions case from 2016, including Runions' and Yust's numbers and a phone number associated with Jessep Carter and/or his wife, Crystal Taylor.

10:44 a.m. | Grabski testifies that the last transaction, which was a data transaction, was likely initiated by a user. It is time-stamped at 1:03 p.m. on May 4, 2007.

10:32 a.m. | Grabski was hired by the defense to examine phone records for Kopetsky's cell phone number.

10:30 a.m. | Court is back in session. The defense has called Eric Grabski, a digital forensic analyst, to the stand.

10:00 a.m. | Court is in recess for 15 minutes.

9:55 a.m. | Tim Riplinger, who works for the Missouri State Public Defender system, was on the stand briefly to discuss drive time from Yust's home to the place Kopetsky and Runions' remains were found.

Riplinger said he found it was approximately a 32-minute drive.

9:36 a.m. | Henson talks about testing for THC in Runions' remains. He said THC can be found days and months post-mortem.

9:29 a.m. | The defense calls Dr. Ronald Henson as their second witness of the day. Henson is an expert in drugs, alcohol and narcotics; and testing in the workplace in particular.

9:27 a.m. | Thomas talks about the process of burning a car.

9:19 a.m. | The prosecution says there was clear evidence presented that a fire was set.

9:17 a.m. | Thomas said national fire investigation standards weren't met.

9:16 a.m. | Thomas talks about the collection of evidence from Yust's person and potential errors.

9:09 a.m. | Thomas said the burn barrels presented as evidence and part of the alibi had no testing done for an accelerant.

9:04 a.m. | Thomas said Jessica Runions' car was not processed until it was towed to impound. He said it should have been left at the scene for processing in order to not compromise evidence, and that no one checked electrical as a possible fire starter.

8:57 a.m. | The first witness called for the day is John Thomas. Thomas has a background in crime scene investigation. He is also an ATF-trained fire investigator and reviewed the Jessica Runions care fire.

8:37 a.m. | The judge is meeting with attorneys to go over jury instruction for when it comes time to give the case to the jury.

8:30 a.m. | Wednesday is the ninth day of the Kylr Yust murder trial and will continue with the defense's presentation of a case.

On Tuesday, the defense struggled to get witnesses in front of jurors to make their case.

Of the 13 witnesses presented to the judge, just eight were allowed to give testimony before the jury. The judge ruled that many of their testimonies were irrelevant to the case, as the defense continued to try and present Yust's brother, Jessep Carter as a potential suspect in the murders.

Those who were allowed to speak before the jury testified to pieces of the alibi the defense said were not checked properly, to possible errors in the collection of forensic evidence at the site of the remains and to possible errors and missteps by law enforcement during the investigations.

The defense could rest their case after presenting witnesses Wednesday, paving the way for the jury to receive the case.

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.