HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — After closing arguments from the prosecution and the defense, the outcome of Kylr Yust’s double murder trial in Cass County now falls on the jury.
Prosecutors and the defense issued their closing arguments Wednesday afternoon after Yust took the witness stand. Then jurors took over the case to make their decision.
Jurors brought in from St. Charles County have sat through nine days of statements and witnesses. However, the trial has been years in the making.
Kara Kopetsky disappeared after leaving Belton High School in 2007. Jessica Runions disappeared in 2016, last seen leaving a house party. Both of their remains were discovered in the woods in spring 2017.
Yust, who was charged with murder shortly after the bodies were discovered, has pleaded not guilty. It has taken four years for those charges to come to trial.
The prosecution has worked to establish irrefutable evidence that Yust killed the two women. They have presented a wiretap recording, where Yust seemingly admits to strangling Kopetsky. Witnesses also testified that he confessed. Furthermore, a different ex-girlfriend detailed a violent relationship with Yust, including choking and other abuse.
Meanwhile, the defense has angled toward casting doubt on the prosecution’s evidence, while lobbing up other alternate suspects. They also claim the investigation was mishandled, and the evidence can’t point to Yust as the killer.
Yet, the defense has struggled with some of their witnesses. Several times over the course of two days, proposed witnesses have been denied by the judge as being irrelevant. Some have taken the stand without the jury present.
Few witnesses remained on April 14, day nine of the trial. Yust shocked many following the case when he was the final witness to take the stand Wednesday. After the state finished with cross-examination, the court took an afternoon break.
Upon returning, both sides delivered their closing arguments to the jury.
Prosecutors focused primarily on other ex-girlfriends’ accounts of abuse and several witnesses testifying that Yust confessed to Kopetsky’s murder to them. The defense focused on a lack of physical evidence in the case, casting doubt on law enforcement’s investigation.
Now, families affected by the tragedy wait to see what the jury will decide.
After over three hours of deliberation, the jury said they were not close to a verdict and asked to stop at 10 p.m. They will resume Thursday morning.
FOX4 is at the Cass County courthouse. We will provide an update when the jury makes a decision.