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Kylr Yust loses appeal in attempt to overturn convictions in deaths of Kara Kopetsky, Jessica Runions

Kylr Yust mugshot 8/23/21
Posted at 9:58 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-01 22:58:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday that affirmed a Cass County trial court's convictions of Kylr Yust in the deaths of two women.

Yust raised six points in his appeal of the convictions for voluntary manslaughter in the 2007 death of Belton teenager Kara Kopetsky and his second degree murder conviction for the 2016 death of Jessica Runions.

RELATED | KSHB Kylr Yust coverage

The two high-profile cases were kept alive by the dogged efforts of the family, their friends and law officers to keep the cases in front of the public.

The two women's bodies were found in woods near Belton in 2017.

A 2021 jury trial ended with Yust found guilty in both women's deaths.

He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The appeals court judges ruled against Yust in all six points raised in his appeal.

Among Yust's arguments to the appeals court were the Cass County trial court erred in excluding the testimony of two witnesses who offered alternation perpetrator evidence as to who killed Kara Kopetsky, according to Tuesday's opinion.

The appeals court also ruled that "based on the totality of the circumstances, Yust's actions before and after J.R.'s disappearance are sufficient evidence from which the jury could determine that Yust acted knowingly in killing J.R."

The opinion also stated that viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the verdict, "we find the State presented evidence that Yust knowingly caused J.R.'s death."