Accused killer Yust appears in court

Kylr Charles Yust, 31, the accused killer of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, was in Cass County Circuit Court Monday for a case review before Judge William B. Collins.

Yust faces two counts each of first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse in the deaths of Kopetsy and Runions. Monday’s case review dealt with discovery and disposition issues.

Kopetsky, who was 17 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen alive at 9:19 a.m. May 4, 2007, on Belton High School surveillance footage, and Runions was last seen alive Sept. 8, 2016, when she and Yust were seen leaving a party in Grandview.

While Yust was a suspect in the Kopetsky case, it was not until 10 years later when Runions went missing that the bodies of both girls were found.

The first break in the case came April 3, 2017 when human remains were found by a mushroom hunter in the area of 233 Street and Y Highway in Cass County. Law enforcement officers located the human remains, which included a skull and several bones.

According to court documents, while a more extensive search of the area where the human remains were found was being conducting, a second set of remains were discovered that appeared to be considerably older than the first set of remains.

Two days later, the Kansas City Medical Examiner’s Office and Kansas City Crime Lab personnel, using dental records and DNA, determined the first set of remains were those of Runions.

The second set of remains were recovered by the Kansas City Crime Scene Technicians and subsequently sent by the Jackson County Medical Examiner and then to the FBI Crime Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia for examination.

On Aug. 16, 2016, the second set of human remains was identified as those of Kopetsky.

Yust was arrested for the murder of both young women in early October 2017.

During a court appearance in early September Yust’s attorneys argued he may not be competent to stand trial and the judge subsequently ordered a mental evaluation.

Last week the defense attorneys, Sharon Turlington and Robert Lundt, filed a motion to keep Yust from having to appear in court saying it would “prevent him from additional psychological suffering.”

Collins has not ruled on the motion.

Yust’s trial date, which had been set for early November has been cancelled and no new trial date has been set.

Yust’s next court appearance is scheduled for 1:30 pm. Nov. 18. He remains in custody in the Cass County Jail.

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