Missouri man Kylr Yust, 32, was convicted on Thursday for second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Jessica Runions, 21, and voluntary manslaughter in the 2007 death of Kara Kopetsky, 17, according to Fox 4 KC. Ultimately, this was a mixed result for the prosecution, who pushed for charges of first-degree murder.
“To be technical, I don’t really feel that justice was served as far as Kara’s concerned,” said Kopetsky’s mother Rhonda Beckford, according to KMBC.
Yust faces life in prison for the murder of Runions. He faces 15 years behind bars in the killing of Kopetsky.
Strictly speaking, the defendant served as the only link between the women. Their bodies were found in 2017 in Cass County, Missouri.
The state said Yust killed Kara and Jessica to stop them from being with other men. Cass County prosecutor Julie Tolle called him “obsessive, jealous, pathetic,” according to KCUR. If he could not have them, no one could, the state asserted.
Yust took the stand in his own defense, trying to suggest that his half-brother Jessep Carter—who died by suicide in 2018 while in jail on an arson allegation–killed both women.
Jurors did not buy this. Others testified to hearing Yust confess to the homicides. This included an ex-girlfriend, who got him on wiretap during a staged séance.
The women’s families had an opportunity to speak at a sentencing on Friday.
Kara’s dad, Mike Kopetsky, called to the stand for his impact statement.
He describes Kara calling him late at night and talking for 30 minutes. He laughs then chokes up and says:
— Matt Evans (@MattEvansKMBC) April 16, 2021
“She always made sure she told me that she loved me,” Jessica’s sister Megan Runions said. “And sometimes I didn’t say it right away, but she always told me to say it back and I did.”
“I love you so much, Jessica, if you’re listening,” she said. “And as you always said, ‘said it back.'”
[Screengrab via 41 Action News]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]