Murder trial reset for Little River County man accused of killing girlfriend’s son

ASHDOWN, Ark. -- The trial date for a Little River County man charged with first-degree murder in 2022 has been continued until April 2024.

Walter Richard Duermit Jr., 65, is charged in the shooting death of his live-in girlfriend's son. He has pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

Duermit's Dec. 5 court date has been continued until April 22, according to court documents. A pretrial date is scheduled for April 9.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Duermit could face 10 to 40 years or life in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. He was released from the Little River County jail in October on a $250,000 bond, according to court records.

Duermit's attorney, Public Defender Clayton Tinkes of Ashdown, previously filed a motion for fitness to proceed, which is also known as an evaluation for competence to stand trial, according to Little River County Circuit Court records.

Tinkes was found fit to stand trial, and the December court date was scheduled.

At 10:30 p.m. July 26, 2022, Carla Trowler, who lives on Little River 170 in Ashdown, called the Sheriff's Office to report that Duermit shot her son, Joshua Yeager, 37, according to the probable cause affidavit. Once deputies arrived on scene, Duermit was taken into custody without incident.

On July 27, Sgt. Jonathon Butler interviewed Duermit, who said Yeager came into his room "yelling at him and threatening him," according to the affidavit. Duermit reportedly said Yeager was unarmed when he entered the room.

According to the affidavit, Duermit said he then got off the bed, retrieved a gun and shot Yeager one time.

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