Kylr Yust’s lawyers push to present new defense strategy hours before murder trial scheduled to begin

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — A legal move Monday morning threw more uncertainty into the murder trial of Kylr Yust. He is charged with murdering Kara Kopetsky in April of 2007, and Jessica Runions in September 2016.

Yust’s attorneys argued they want to present alternative suspects during the hearing. One of those suspects is Yust’s half brother, Jessep Carter. The issue is that Carter took his life in 2018 while in custody at the Jackson County Jail.

The defense argued that even though Carter is dead and can’t be cross examined, they should be able to present evidence that Carter, not Yust, killed both Kopetsky and Runions. The defense said it has witness testimony that Carter routinely drugged, assaulted and possibly murdered women at parties.

Runions disappeared from a party at a Grandview house in September of 2016. Witnesses said she was seen with Yust at that party.

The defense also claims that before killing himself, Carter left a coded message in his cell. They plan to present expert testimony that the message could say “I killed eleven girls.”

The judge in the case plans to hold a hearing at a later time to see what will be admissible at trial. He said the information about Carter cannot be used in opening statements.

The judge also ruled Monday morning that TV cameras will be allowed inside the courtroom during the trial.

Jurors are expected to arrived in Cass County around noon. They are being bussed in from St. Charles in the St. Louis area. Court is scheduled to being with jury instructions at 1:30 p.m. Opening statements are scheduled for 2 p.m.

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