Kylr Yust trial: Jury selection begins for man accused of killing women ten years apart

Missouri

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The murder trial of Kylr Yust is getting closer, and with it comes jury selection. However, to pick a jury for Yust, attorneys had to travel 270 miles east of Cass County.

Yust is on trial for the murders of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions, who were killed nearly 10 years apart.

More than 50 people from St. Charles County spent the day going through questions that might put them on the jury, which would then send them across the state. Potential jurors gathered at St. Peter Catholic Church in St. Charles. Lawyers questioned them in the parish gymnasium. 

Yust appeared at jury selection proceedings Monday. Lawyers sat at tables on a stage in the gym, while rows of jurors were socially distanced below. Jurors did not realize Yust was at the proceedings until after lunch when his attorneys had him stand to face the group. 

His defense attorney, Molly Hastings, asked the potential jurors if Yust looked like a murderer, and no one believed he did. Yust looked much different than he has in the past. He wore a suit with a white button up shirt. His tattoos usually visible across his arms and neck were not as obvious. 

Yust spent time during the proceedings writing notes to his lawyers, nodding his head at statements potential jurors agreed with, and even laughed along with the group during lighter moments in the day.

Most of the potential jurors during Monday’s proceedings were made up of white people of middle age. There were about five potential jurors who were black. Many of the group stated they didn’t believe they could travel for trial due to work and family commitments. Jurors who are selected will be bussed to Cass County and sequestered for the three-week trial. 

One potential juror cited they are due for their second COVID-19 vaccine, and the court offered possible accommodations to make sure they could get it in Cass County if selected. Among the group was a software engineer, a cook, a funeral technician and a department manager at a local hospital.

A major topic during the day was domestic abuse and how it’s affected their lives. If they were comfortable, jurors were asked to explain experiences they’ve been through to the group, and if they could be impartial to testimony from alleged domestic violence victims.

They were also asked if they could be impartial after looking at difficult evidence and their feelings about law enforcement. They were asked if they could be skeptical about law enforcement and would they look at investigators the same as any other witness. 

Attorneys went through a lengthy witness list for the upcoming trial, which includes multiple branches of law enforcement. More than 40 witnesses are expected to testify.

Yust’s attorneys portrayed him as a musician in a metal band with lots of tattoos and girlfriends. Potential jurors were asked about their feelings on the music genre and if they held biases against people who have tattoos. 

None of the jurors were openly dismissed or disqualified. The judge asked this group to return Wednesday morning to continue selection. 

A new group will appear for selection on Tuesday. Yust’s trial is set to start April 5 in Cass County.

In the video below, metro attorneys Melinda Clark-Sann and Phil LeVota join FOX4’s John Holt to analyze the legal hurdles both sides face with this case.

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