Kylr Yust trial: Victim impact statements, sentencing scheduled for Friday

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — The same jury that convicted Kylr Yust on Thursday will also decide his prison term at his sentencing Friday morning.

The jury, brought from St. Charles County to Cass County for the trial, will gather again at 8:30 a.m. Friday to determine Yust’s sentencing. The jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Kara Kopetsky and second-degree murder in the death of Jessica Runions.

Seventeen-year-old Kopetsky disappeared after leaving Belton High School in 2007. Then 21-year-old Runions disappeared in 2016, last seen leaving a house party. 

After years of searching for Kopetsky and months of searching for Runions, the women’s remains were discovered in spring 2017 in rural Cass County.

Yust was charged with murder shortly after the bodies were discovered and pleaded not guilty. It took four years for those charges to come to trial.

According to the state of Missouri, for voluntary manslaughter, Yust could get anywhere from 5-15 years in prison. For the second-degree murder conviction, he could receive 10-30 years.

If he receives the harshest sentence, Yust could be facing 45 years in prison, making him 77 when he’s released.

However, his lawyer might already be planning an appeal. Defense attorneys Sharon Turlington and Matt Vigil left the courthouse shortly after the verdict was read but not attorney Molly Hastings. During Yust’s testimony, he told the jury Hastings believed him when others didn’t.

Turlington and Vigil had no comment, saying the case is still pending with sentencing Friday. 

Friday’s sentencing is expected to be an emotional day for everyone. The families of Kopetsky and Runions will likely deliver impact statements to urge the jury to select a longer sentencing.

Kopetsky and Runions’ families were in the courtroom when the judge read the verdict, but they didn’t speak to news outlets Thursday night as they left the courthouse. Sheriff’s deputies helped escort them to their vehicles.

FOX4 will be liveblogging from the courthouse during families’ impact statements and sentencing hearing.

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