Farmer's Killing Was 'Incomprehensible'—Until Now

Elmer Yuill was murdered on his farm back in 1991. Now, a suspect emerges
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2020 7:30 PM CDT
Updated May 31, 2020 7:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Elmer Yuill's killing made no sense at all. The gentle farmer liked doting on his younger sisters and kept his barnyard so clean that drivers pulled over for photos. Yet early one morning in 1991, the 77-year-old was found dead, two bullets in the back—execution style—on that very land in Nova Scotia, Canada. A $150,000 reward in the case remains unclaimed. "Horrific crimes happen all the time," says a former RCMP officer who led the investigation for seven years. "But this one—a farmer in his late years minding his farm in the early morning hours being murdered? That’s just terrible." Now journalist Lindsay Jones, writing for the Walrus, looks into the case and finds a suspect who slipped away from authorities time and again. His name is Duane Deveaux.

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Deveaux was a boxer and McDonald's burger flipper with an alibi—he was out drinking with a pal that night. But his own cousin says Deveaux and his pal robbed a grocery store before hiding out in Yuill's barn, where one of them shot the farmer in a confrontation. RCMP documents show Deveaux even confessed to the robbery and killing, calling it a "murder three charge," but he later pleaded not guilty—and prosecutors backed off in court twice, fearing they might imperil the ongoing homicide case by prosecuting him for robbery. Now, with Yuill's wife dead and the farm in disuse, Deveaux has moved to Ontario, where his brother Bernard calls him "a mess" who "can't even talk about" what happened: "He drinks himself to death," he says. "To see a guy go that badly, there's something in there eating him." (Click for Jones' full piece.)

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