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Kylr Yust Sentenced To 45 Years In Prison For Killings Of Two Kansas City-Area Women

Yust verdict 041521 JAT 157F.jpg
Jill Toyoshiba
The Kansas City Star
Kylr Yust shortly after a jury in Cass County found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Kara Kopetsky and second-degree murder in the death of Jessica Runions.

Yust received the maximum sentences for the convictions, following jurors' recommendations.

On Monday, a Cass County judge sentenced Kylr Yust to life in prison and 15 years in prison for the killings of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions.

In April, a jury found Yust guilty of voluntary manslaughter for Kopetsky’s death and second-degree murder for Runions's death.

Judge William Collins decided to adopt the jurors' recommendation that Yust receive maximum sentences for both convictions. That means life in prison for second-degree murder, and 15 years for voluntary manslaughter. In Missouri, because life sentences are capped at 30 years, the sentences will run consecutively for a total of 45 years in prison.

The bodies of Yust's two victimes were found together in a wooded area in Cass County in 2017.

Witnesses said Jessica Runions was last seen leaving a party with Yust in 2016. She was 21 years old at the time. Kara Kopetsky was 17 years old when last seen leaving Belton High School in 2007.

The prosecution argued during Yust’s trial that he was a jealous boyfriend who could not tolerate either woman becoming involved with another man. The defense pointed to the lack of physical evidence in the prosecution's case. There was no DNA evidence linking Yust to either woman's death.

Yust took the witness stand in his own defense during his trial and blamed his half-brother, Jessup Carter, for the killings. Carter died by suicide in 2018 in the Jackson County jail.

According to The Kansas City Star, Yust’s attorneys said they intended to file an appeal.

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