Keith Yandle pleads not guilty to alleged Stephen Murphy murder

A father who allegedly murdered a homeless man on his property has pleaded not guilty to the charge, but said he was willing to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Keith Russell Yandle, 46, appeared at Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday via videolink, to answer the charge he murdered father-of-two Steven Murphy at his Kudla property north of Adelaide.

But when Magistrate Justin Wickens read out that on February 19, 2023 he murdered Mr Murphy, Mr Yandle said, “not guilty your honour, but guilty to manslaughter.”

The prosecution told the court it rejected Mr Yandle’s offer and Mr Wickens transferred the case to the South Australian Supreme Court in May.

South Australian Police initially charged Keith Yandle, 46, and his son Marco, 20, with the murder of Mr Murphy after his remains were found buried at the remote property north of Adelaide in April.

The murder charge against Marco, 20, has been dropped and he has pleaded guilty to assisting his father in the alleged crime.

A tip-off led the cops to the Kudla property, about 47km north of Adelaide, where they found a marijuana farm and a gravesite within a man-made bunker.

Prosecutors allege Keith Yandle executed Mr Murphy with an unlicensed firearm at close range on the night of February 19.

They allege Mr Yandle and his then teenage son Marco equipped themselves with a bat and an illegal firearm after they suspected an intruder was on the property.

The prosecution alleges the entire incident was caught on the family’s CCTV system, but hard drives containing the footage were hidden in the roof of the home, along with the gun.

On Thursday, Mr Yandle pleaded guilty to destroying human remains to pervert the course of justice.

He pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of ammunition and a firearm and the cultivation of cannabis.

Marco remains on remand while he awaits sentencing at the Supreme Court.

Mr Wickens remanded Mr Yandle in custody until his next appearance in May.

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