‘We won, they won:’ Families of Kara Kopetsky, Jessica Runions react to Yust’s sentence

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HARRISONVILLE, Mo. — An hour after a Cass County judge handed Kylr Yust the maximum sentence for murdering two metro women, the families of his victims reacted to the news.

A judge sentenced Yust to a total of 45 years in prison for the deaths of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions. The sentence comes less than three months after a jury convicted Yust of voluntary manslaughter for Kopetsky’s death and second-degree murder for the death of Runions.

“It’s been a long time, an emotional time,” Jim Beckford, Kopetsky’s stepfather said. “I want to thank you for your support for Kara and Jessica and our families. You were their voices.”

“Thank you for all the support,” Rhonda Beckford, Kopetsky’s mother, said.

The Beckfords wore purple to the sentencing hearing in honor of Kara. In the past, they’ve said it was her favorite color.

“We won, we got them back,” Jim Beckford said. “There were obstacles we faced from being told we wouldn’t ever find them.”

The Beckfords joined Runion’s mother, Jamie, to thank the mushroom hunter who found the remains of the women. Their bodies were discovered together in a rural field in Cass County.

The parents of the two women also took time to thank the community for their support during the years-long search and legal process.

“We couldn’t have done it without the community they have shown so much love, respect,” Jamie Runions said. “They’ve prayed with us. They’ve done amazing things in this community and we just appreciate everybody.”

“One thing that comes to mind is just the love, the love everyone has shown,” Jim Beckford said. “We’re very thankful. Thankful that justice has come.”

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