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Yust's ex-girlfriends take center stage in 2nd day of witness testimony in murder trial

candice matthews st. clair yust trial day 3.JPG
Posted at 6:06 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 11:05:02-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The second day of witness testimony in the double murder trial of Kylr Yust was characterized by stories of his alleged confessions.

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

LISTEN: Journey for Justice podcast trial update #3

The state called four witnesses to the stand at the Cass County Justice Center on Wednesday, including retired Belton detective Billy Jones, former bandmate Nick Yeates and former girlfriends Candice St. Clair (formerly Matthews) and Katelyn Farris.

Yeates’ testimony centered around a trip to Burger King with Yust, during which he said Yust confessed to killing Kopetsky.

In cross examination, the defense noted how Yeates has flip-flopped in his reporting of the confession.

At times, Yeates said he thought it was a dream, but said Wednesday he was more certain the confession, though vague in his mind, did happen in real life.

St. Clair took the stand with powerful testimony about the abuse she said she suffered at Yust’s hands.

She described a violent attack during which Yust repeatedly choked her and punched her legs to wake her up when she would lose consciousness.

She was pregnant with their child at the time, and miscarried later during an interview with police.

The defense’s line of questioning for St. Clair focused on why she didn’t go to police, but instead joined a “Find Kara” Facebook group and posted there about the attack.

She also was asked why she didn’t tell anyone at a crisis pregnancy center about the attack or her injuries.

St. Clair said she was scared, and that’s why she didn’t come forward.

Notably, St. Clair described long drives she and Yust would take to smoke weed, and said they did drive by the area Kopetsky’s and Runions’ bodies were eventually found.

St. Clair said she didn’t know until court Wednesday they’d been found in the woods.

Farris, another ex-girlfriend of Yust’s, said he told her once while high on “some sort of substance” that he’d put Kopetsky in his car and she was never seen again.

Police contacted Farris about this event after a friend she’d told went to authorities.

Farris broke up with Yust but remained friends with him, and in 2011 agreed to wear a wire for the FBI to try to capture his confession on tape.

Before the trial began, Yust’s defense team filed a motion to make the wiretapped recordings inadmissible in court, which the judge ruled against.

Those recordings were played in court during the second half of the day Wednesday.

In them, jurors heard the pair make plans to try to contact Kopetsky using a Ouija board.

The jury heard hours worth of audio recordings and video from a hidden camera placed in Farris' car, which appeared to be mounted somewhere near the dashboard. The audio followed the two throughout their day, getting breakfast and going to get supplies to make the Ouija board.

Yust is heard saying mid-sentence, "...On the day I'm going to visit the death spot of my ex-girlfriend that I killed."

Farris is heard assuring him she'll never tell anyone, but that it'll feel good to get it off his chest.

"Like, I really regret it," Yust said. "I really didn't want to tell anyone in my entire life and I told you, a girl I'm probably not going to talk to in a year or know in a year."

Yust repeatedly talks about wanting to get back together with Farris and appears to be under the impression that if he follows through on the Ouija board, it could be a possibility, though Farris is never heard outright saying this.

Yust told Farris she is “the only person” he’d told about what happened to Kopetsky.

The pair is heard walking to the place they plan to use the Ouija board, which seems to be the same place Yust allegedly took Kopetsky’s body.

Yust is heard saying he can't believe they're there, that it's the one place he swore to never go back to.

Farris remarked she's curious what Kara might say when they contact her, but Yust said he's not curious.

"Do you understand this is the biggest f*** up in my entire life?" Yust is heard saying.

Farris remarked on the difficulty of the trek and how it must have been difficult to carry Kopetsky’s body downhill in the area.

She asked Yust, “Why here?” His answer is inaudible in the recording.

Early in the day, Jones testified about Kopetsky’s phone records and other online activity. The defense asked him about several leads he was supposed to follow up on and the accuracy of the cell phone records.

Court will resume at 8:30 a.m. Thursday with two more hours of the wiretap recording to be played, including the portion where Farris and Yust believe they contacted Kopetsky’s spirit.

Following that, the prosecution will pose more questions to Farris before the defense begins what is likely to be a lengthy cross examination.

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.