HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — A Kansas City police officer is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a witness in two high-profile metro area murders.
Kylr Yust is charged with murdering Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. Investigators found the remains of both victims in a rural Cass County field in 2018.
Yust’s lawyer says one officer’s actions may prevent her client from getting a fair trial.
According to lawyers, new reports recently disclosed by Belton police indicate a Kansas City police officer has been investigating the disappearance of Kopetsky in his spare time for the last ten years. During the off-book investigation, the officer allegedly had a sexual relationship with a witness in the case.
Yust’s attorney, Sharon Turlington, also claims the Kansas City officer has had inappropriate contact with other witnesses in the case. She said she’s concerned that the investigator, identified in court only as “Officer Mier,” has discussed the case with these witnesses and expressed personal opinions about Yust that would prevent him from receiving a fair trial.
Turlington says “Mier” admitted to conducting an investigation but did not write reports if he didn’t think what he was learning was relevant.
Prosecutor Julie Toll said “Mier” claims he was authorized to investigate the case by Kansas City police. Police commanders with the department have disputed that claim.
KCPD Sgt. Jake Becchina told FOX4 it’s not allowed for any officer to have a relationship with a witness in an ongoing criminal investigation. Becchina said the violent crimes commander is aware of the allegations against the officer, but KCPD does not plan to conduct an internal investigation against him at this point.
Cass County Judge William Collins did order Tuesday that the last ten years of the officer’s phone records be examined to determine the communication he’s had with witnesses, and if that communication may have influenced witnesses.
Yust will be back in court on August 17. Judge Collins is preparing to select a jury from St. Charles, Mo., for a trial that has yet another delay.