CASS COUNTY, Mo. — Despite previous delays due to the pandemic, the felony murder trial for accused murderer Kylr Yust is scheduled to begin April 5.
Cass County prosecutors charged Yust in 2017 with two counts of murder in the first degree and abandonment of a corpse in the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.
Kopetsky, 17, of Belton, Missouri, 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, Missouri, 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.
Yust was taken into custody on an arrest warrant out of Benton County for allegedly burning Runions’ vehicle. While being transferred to the Jackson County jail, 41 Action News asked Yust if he killed Kopetsky. he responded with the question, “Did you?”
During that same interaction, he also said he had no idea what happened to Runions. In April, 2017 both girls’ remains were eventually discovered in rural Cass County. Yust has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him in the girls’ deaths.
Since 2017, the case has taken many twists and turns. His trial scheduled for last summer was delayed due, in part, to the coronavirus pandemic.
In court documents filed in July, 2020, Yust’s defense alleges a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer conducted his own investigation into Kopetsky’s disappearance, including contacting and interviewing witnesses, despite not being assigned to the case.
Judge William Collins ordered T-Mobile to produce any of that officer’s cell phone records from 2010-present. As of early January, the records had not yet been turned over.
And in a court document filed in December 2020, the defense alleges that a different officer - a Kansas City, Missouri Police detective - illegally tracked Yust with an electronic device that was allegedly obtained without a warrant. The defense also alleges the detective generated reports of the alleged surveillance.
Yust’s defense team has requested those reports, but as of a court hearing on Monday, Jan. 4, they had not received them. Judge Collins gave the department until the end of January to turn over any reports that exist.
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 provided a statement which reads, “We generally do not comment on pending litigation, which this matter is, to ensure fairness for all sides in the matter.”
The next case status hearing is set for February 2.