CASS COUNTY, Mo. — New court filings provide a glimpse of how the felony murder trial involving Kylr Yust could unfold in a Cass County courtroom.
Yust is scheduled to go on trial April 5. He is charged with two counts of murder in the first degree and two counts of abandonment of a corpse in the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.
Kopetsky, 17, of Belton, was last seen walking out of Belton High School in 2007. Yust was a former boyfriend of Kopetsky’s. She had filed a restraining order against him days prior.
Runions, 21, of Raymore, disappeared in 2016. Witnesses told police they saw her leaving a party in Kansas City, Missouri, with Yust. Her burned-out SUV was found several days later.
The women’s bodies were found near each other in rural Cass County, Missouri, in 2017. Yust has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
His defense team on Thursday filed a motion to dismiss the abandonment of a corpse counts, stating in court documents that, "forcing Yust to report to the authorities the bodies of the victims he allegedly murdered would be a flagrant violation of his constitutional protection against self-incrimination.”
Cass County Judge William Collins has not ruled on the motion.
During Monday’s case review hearing, prosecutors updated the court regarding police reports requested by the defense that involve alleged illegal tracking of Yust by a Kansas City, Missouri, police detective.
The defense alleged the detective tracked Yust with an electronic device that was obtained without a warrant. The defense also alleged the detective generated reports of the alleged surveillance.
On Monday, prosecutor Julie Tolle said KCPD found no reports that addressed the tracking device. Prosecutors, however, did provide emails to the defense in which the device was discussed.
41 Action News reached out to the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department regarding the allegation a detective tracked Yust’s vehicle illegally.
A spokesperson for the department said in a statement that "we generally do not comment on pending litigation, which this matter is, to ensure fairness for all sides in the matter.”
The potential length of the trial also was discussed during Monday’s hearing, along with the complexities of bussing and housing hundreds of potential jurors from the St. Louis area during a pandemic.
Jury selection is set to begin March 29.
A final decision also has not been made as to whether the trial would be streamed over the internet or if the public would be able to attend in-person. Due to the pandemic, social distancing requirements would need to be maintained within the courtroom.
The next case status hearing is set for Feb. 16.