HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — It was a challenging day as the defense began its side in Kylr Yust’s double murder trial. At least one witness expected to testify didn’t show up, but one who did had a compelling story.
Belton is a small town, and it’s hard to forget a face. Deborah Heflin often saw kids from Belton High School pass by her house.
“Was one of the people that you sometimes saw walking up and down your street a girl you learned was Kara Kopetsky?” the defense asked.
“Yes,” Heflin responded.
Heflin said she saw her around 11:30 a.m. to noon on May 4, 2007. Kopetsky was last seen around 9 a.m. leaving school.
“She was very distraught,” Heflin said.
“She was crying?” the defense asked.
“She was crying on the phone,” Heflin said.
Heflin said from her driveway she saw who she believes was Kara walk out of view, and a car full of boys drove by soon after.
“Did you see where the car full of boys went?” the defense asked.
“Up north on Lacy towards where Kara was walking,” Heflin said.
“So they drove up basically to her or in the same direction as where she was,” the defense clarified.
“Same direction, yes,” Heflin said.
“And did you hear anything?” the defense asked.
“Yes, I did,” Heflin said.
“What did you hear?” the defense attorney asked.
“A blood curdling scream,” Helflin said.
Heflin said she didn’t understand the relevance of the moment at the time, but she saw Kopetsky’s face on the news two years later and went to police.
The state claims Heflin can’t be sure what she saw.
“You just wanted to be helpful and when you realized years later, and saw Kara on the news, you thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to report this,'” lead prosecutor Julie Tolle said.
“Right,” Heflin said.
“But, the reality is you can’t tell this jury that that was Kara Kopetsky on that day, can you?” Tolle asked.
“Yes, I knew — I didn’t know at the time it was her, but after seeing the news a few years later, I knew it was her,” Heflin said.
Since Heflin didn’t report it until two years later, it was difficult to follow up on the tip. The state did not present testimony about this claim during their presentation to the jury.
It is unclear if there is any validity to the claim, or if the car did exist whether or not Yust could have been inside of it.
In the video below, metro attorneys Melinda Clark-Sann and Phil LeVota join FOX4’s John Holt to analyze some of the latest developments in the Yust trial.