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Witness issues continue to plague defense on 8th day of Kylr Yust murder trial

james trainum yust trial day 8.jpg
Posted at 5:06 PM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 23:36:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jurors heard from eight witnesses for the defense in Kylr Yust's double murder trial Tuesday, though 13 total were called.

Yust faces two counts of first-degree murder in the 2007 and 2016 deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.

Like Monday, the jury spent much of the day outside the courtroom as the defense and prosecution argued the admissibility of some witness testimony into court.

Ultimately, Judge Williams Collins ruled five witnesses' testimony would not be admitted in court, citing problems with reliability, relevancy and hearsay.

Several of those excluded testified about events relating to Jessep Carter, Yust's step-brother who was found dead by suicide in his jail cell in 2018 and was reportedly with Yust when he allegedly burnt Runions' car.

The defense called an expert on gang and prison codes to talk about a note Carter left in his cell, which could have had as many as 11 different meanings. The judge denied that testimony.

Collins also denied testimony from a witness identified as J.S.

J.S. said a man named Billy Bayes made statements to him about Kopetsky overdosing and dying in his presence, and his disposal of her body.

The prosecution alleged J.S. only made that testimony to lessen a prison sentence he was facing and pointed out he'd failed a polygraph test conducted by the FBI.

Bayes testified Monday that he didn't know J.S. or make those statements to him.

The witnesses jurors did hear from included two experts who weighed in on the investigation of these cases.

The first was James Trainum, a former homicide detective who now specializes in police procedures and investigations as a consultant.

Trainum focused on issues with the investigation of Yust's alibi, saying investigators didn't do enough to corroborate Yust's whereabouts with people and purchase records.

He also said an investigation conducted by a rogue Kansas City, Missouri, police officer "broke all the rules," particularly in regard to letting people involved know case information.

Trainum pointed out the potential for witness cross-contamination in a case such as this, in which those involved are close-knit.

Dr. Rick Snow, a forensic anthropologist, testified about what he said were problems with the collection of the women's remains.

He took particular issue with some of the tools used to search for bones in the wooded area they were found.

Snow also gave testimony about the hyoid bone, which if broken can indicate a person died when their airflow was restricted by manual or other types of strangulation.

Jurors also heard from two members of the KCPD crime lab who were involved in the Runions case.

One checked Yust's clothing for DNA samples on Sept. 11, 2016. She said she found a blood stain on Yust's shoes.

She said there was no way to know if they were the clothes he was wearing when Runions disappeared a few days prior.

Others who testified Tuesday included Matthew Bauchle, who manages Ignite Medical Resorts, which owns what used to be Carondelet Manor.

Yust's defense claims he visited an aunt at the Manor the day Kopetsky disappeared, and records of the visit would have been essential in proving his alibi.

Bauchle, however, said the company doesn't keep records after seven years. It's been nearly 14 years since Kopetsky's disappearance.

Two more witnesses gave brief testimony — a casual girlfriend Yust dated in 2016 as well as the apartment manager of the complex where he lived.

The manager recalled seeing signs which read "I know what you did. We know where you live," at the property around 10 years ago.

Court will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday with more witness testimony on behalf of the defense.

The judge, defense and prosecution will also review rules to give the jury to make a verdict.

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 for all our stories, case details, timeline and more.