4 plead guilty to manslaughter in death of gang member who was stabbed, left to die

·3 min read
The body of 27-year-old Kevin Dean Damien Yellowbird discovered in Sturgeon County in October 2017.   (RCMP - image credit)
The body of 27-year-old Kevin Dean Damien Yellowbird discovered in Sturgeon County in October 2017. (RCMP - image credit)

An Edmonton street-level drug dealer was left to die in a ditch in September 2017 after he had been beaten, kidnapped and stabbed 10 times in the back.

Kevin Yellowbird, 27, was a member of the Redd Alert gang, according to an agreed statement of facts entered in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench on Friday.

Four men were originally charged with his first-degree murder. Instead, Tyler Fischer, Skylar McGilvery, Sterling McGilvery and Cougar Fafard pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Justice Adam Germain was told that on Sept. 16, 2017, at around 7:30 p.m., friends drove Yellowbird to a north Edmonton house where he planned to pick up some drugs and money then return to the vehicle.

His friend knocked on the door when Yellowbird didn't come back. The person who answered said Yellowbird wasn't there.

Meanwhile, the statement said that a woman visiting next door was asked a few hours later if she could give some people a ride so they could steal from liquor stores.

She agreed and was told to wait behind her house for the group to come out.

"In the minutes that followed, Kevin Yellowbird was escorted against his will from the rear door," the court document states. "Yellowbird was visibly injured at the time, as his face was bloody and swollen."

The house in north Edmonton that Kevin Yellowbird entered in September 2017. It was the last time his friends saw him alive.
The house in north Edmonton that Kevin Yellowbird entered in September 2017. It was the last time his friends saw him alive.(Nathan Gross/CBC)

There were eight people in the SUV when the driver was told to drive north of the city. Skylar McGilvery told everyone to turn off their phones as loud music blared.

Eventually, the driver was told to pull over on rural road near Legal where the four co-accused and Yellowbird got out of the vehicle. The driver of the SUV, with three women inside, was told to drive down the road and wait for a flashlight signal to return.

After five to 15 minutes, she saw the flashlight signal and returned to the men. Yellowbird was not among them.

"It was dark outside at the time and there was long grass on the sides of the road," according to the agreed statement of facts.

Body found one month later

When the driver asked what had happened to Yellowbird, she was told not to worry about it.

Just before 11 p.m., Skylar McGilvery and two others robbed a liquor store and stole $243 worth of bottles. The group of seven returned to a different apartment where they stayed for the night.

Exactly one month later, Yellowbird's body was found in an area surrounded by long glass along a barbed wire fence-line just off a gravel road.

An autopsy showed that he had been stabbed 10 times in the back. Nine of the wounds were superficial, but one was deep enough to penetrate a lung.

There is no evidence to suggest which of the four co-accused inflicted the wounds.

The female driver's identity is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. According to a written decision issued in January 2020, she "actively assisted police in locating and confirming the accused's residences."

The driver was given living expenses under the witness protection program while she gave testimony at the preliminary hearing. She refused to enter the program.

Three of the co-accused remain in custody after pleading guilty. The judge allowed Fafard to remain free on bail until he is sentenced.

Crown prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke said he plans to ask for 10-year sentences for each of the men. Gladue reports have been ordered for all four.

The sentencing hearing is set for June 30.