By Allen Edmonds


HARRISONVILLE – Attorneys for homicide defendant Kylr Yust have asked Presiding Circuit Judge William Collins to declare him incompetent to proceed in his defense, which trial set to being in just two months.

(File photo) Kylr Yust at his arraignment on Oct. 10, 2017, the last time he appeared in public. He has been ordered to appear on Tuesday for a competency hearing.

Yust, who is accused of killing 17-year-old Belton High School student Kara Kopetsky in 2007 and 21-year-old Jessica Runions of Raymore in 2016, is currently being held in the Cass County Jail on $1 million bond awaiting trial, which is set to begin Nov. 4.

According to a motion filed Friday in Cass County Circuit Court by attorneys Sharon Turlington and Robert Lundt of the state public defender’s capital defense team, Yust “suffers from a mental disease or defect and that as a result of his mental disease or defect he lacks the competence to proceed.” Additionally, they ask that Yust be treated by the state’s Department of Mental Health “in order to regain competence.”

The belief is based on the opinion of Jose Mathews, M.D., who was retained by the defense to perform an examination on Yust, the motion said.

According to a proposed order also submitted by the defense team, Mathews found that Yust “lacks capacity to understand the proceedings him or assist in his own defense.”

The proposed order requests a report from the Department of Mental Health within 180 days, determining whether or not Yust had regained competency to stand trial, and if not, “whether there is a substantial probability that he would regain competency in the foreseeable future.”

The proposed order asks the court to approve the transfer of Yust from the custody of the Cass County Sheriff’s Office to the Department of Mental Health.

The motion has been set for hearing at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in Cass County Circuit Court. Collins issued an order, on his own motion, on Monday requiring Yust to appear personally in the courtroom.

Yust had requested and been granted permission not to personally attend hearings following his arraignment in 2017.

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