Kylr Yust, convicted in April of killing two young women, to be sentenced Monday

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Kylr Yust, who was convicted of killing two young women in Cass County, will be sentenced Monday afternoon.

Yust was found guilty in April of voluntary manslaughter in the death of Kara Kopetsky and second-degree murder in the death of Jessica Runions.

The jury recommended a sentence of life in prison on the murder charge and 15 years for the manslaughter charge.

Kopetsky, 17, was reported missing in May 2007, and Runions, 21, was last seen alive in September 2016.

Yust had been linked to them both early on in the investigations but their cases remained long-running mysteries in the metro area. A mushroom hunter found their remains in April 2017 in a wooded area south of Belton.

Yust was charged in 2017 with two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths. The jury, which was brought in from St. Charles County because of the case’s publicity, however, was given the option of delivering lesser charges.

The trial began on April 5 with opening statements from Cass County Prosecutor Ben Butler, who said Kopetsky tried to end the relationship with Yust, who admitted to friends that he “‘strangled the (expletive) out of her and threw her in the middle of the (expletive) woods.’”

Yust killed again nine years later when Runions tried to end a relationship with him, prosecutors said. Yust dumped their bodies in “his spot,” Butler said.

Over the course of the trial, prosecutors sought to portray Yust as a violent and merciless killer who took the young women’s lives because he could not stand to see either become romantically involved with someone else.

Yust’s defense team, meanwhile, cast doubt on the investigation and its conclusions, saying no physical evidence connected Yust to the killings.

Defense attorney Sharon Turlington told the jury that police conducted a “suspect-driven investigation.” Officers failed to collect evidence, including Yust’s phone records with location data, and lost other evidence, she said.

On the last day of the trial, April 14, Yust took the stand, saying he did not kill Kopetsky nor Runions and that he believed his deceased half-brother was involved.

Yust will be sentenced at 2:30 p.m. Monday by Cass County Circuit Court Judge William Collins.

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