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Judge allows camera in courtroom to record proceedings


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    HARRISONVILLE, Missouri (KMBC) — A judge ruled Monday he will allow a camera to record the murder trial of Kylr Yust, the man accused of killing two women and leaving their bodies in a Cass County, Missouri, farm field.

The ruling by Cass County Judge William Collins was the first major decision of the trial that started Monday, nearly 14 years after the disappearance of one of the women.

Kansas City area news outlets have argued for months they should be allowed to show the proceedings in the case that has captivated the city’s attention for years.

Despite the decision to allow cameras to record the trial, Collins also ruled Monday that no livestreaming of the trial will take place. The judge will allow a camera to capture video from the back of the courtroom.

Yust is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Kara Kopetsky, who disappeared in 2007, and Jessica Runions, who was last seen in 2016.

The remains of Kopetsky and Runions were found by a mushroom hunter in rural Cass County together in 2017.

With that decision out of the way, a jury of 13 women and three men are now in transit from St. Charles County and opening statements will begin this afternoon, with the trial expected to take around three weeks.

Jurors will hear from prosecutors about why they believe Yust killed Kara Kopetsky after she vanished from Belton back in 2007 – and why attorneys believe he’s responsible for killing Runions, who vanished in 2016.

Yust’s lawyers will then get their chance to lay out their case to the jury – part of which has been on display in motions leading up to the trial.

A judge made the decision to drop two counts of abandonment of a corpse charges against Yust. His attorneys also attempted to get the murder charges thrown out, alleging that the police didn’t do enough to investigate other suspects in the case.

KMBC 9 News Investigates reporter Matt Flener is in the courtroom and providing live updates throughout the day. Follow below for updates.

10:24 a.m. — Court is now in recess until 1:30 p.m. when opening statements begin before the jury

10:12 a.m. — Judge: Deputy sheriffs will be in rows with family. “I have instructed that any sound. I don’t even care if it’s a grunt, they’re out,” Collins said.

On verdict day, jury will be seated in jury box for less than 15 mins, so they will not be in the audience.

10:09 a.m. — Now one of Kylr Yust’s defense attorneys is making a formal objection to having the families of Kara Kopetsky and Jessica Runions inside the courtroom — just one row away from the jury. “We are already up to 30 people without family being in the courtroom.”

9:59 a.m. — Prosecutors say they have 174 exhibits for trial.

9:51 a.m. — Another note before the trial begins: Judge William Collins restricted access to case documents on Missouri Case Net before trial. But, once the jury is sequestered and given instructions Collins said he will allow access to case documents again.

9:41 a.m. — In addition to a broadcast camera to record the trial, Judge William Collins ruled a still camera can also take pictures inside the courtroom.

9:31 a.m. — A judge will allow a camera to record the murder trial of Kylr Yust. The camera will remain at the rear of the courtroom. No livestreaming.

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Article Topic Follows: National-World

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