ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Two days after a Cass County judge affirmed a jury’s recommendation that Kylr Yust serve consecutive life and 15-year sentences for killing girlfriends Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, he’s been transferred from jail in Harrisonville to a Missouri Department of Corrections facility in St. Joseph.
A jury from St. Charles convicted Yust of killing 17-year-old Kopetsky in 2007 and 21-year-old Runions in 2016. Their bodies were found together in a rural field in Cass County in 2017. Both were significant missing person’s cases until mushroom hunters found them.
The jury convicted Yust of voluntary manslaughter in Kopetsky’s killing and second-degree murder for Runions. The manslaughter count carries 15 years, and while Yust got a life sentence for murder, Missouri caps the life sentence at 30 years, effectively leading to 45 years behind bars.
Ultimately it was up to a judge to decide if Yust would serve the sentences back to back or at the same time. The Cass County judge opted for consecutive sentences.
In court on Monday, Yust argued with the judge about the sentencing. But eventually his attorney said they would not be answering any more questions, and Yust refused to speak after that.
Yust’s attorneys had also previously requested a new trial via a 60-page request.
His legal team claimed Yust was not able to properly defend himself in the trial. Much of it had to do with the exclusion of evidence and witnesses that could have swayed jurors toward considering Yust’s half-brother, Jessep Carter, as an alternate suspect.
Prosecutor Julie Tolle said Yust had years of opportunities to come forward and give the families justice if it really was his brother, but she argued Carter is just a scapegoat to manipulate the jury.
Tolle said it didn’t work and the jury found him guilty.
Ultimately, the judge rejected the request for a new trial Monday. Yust’s attorneys said they will be bringing his case to appeals court.