top of page

White Homeowner (Andrew Lester) to Stand Trial for Shooting Black Teen (Ralph Yarl) Who Went to the

The White homeowner accused of wounding a Black teen who went to the wrong Kansas City address in April will stand trial for the shooting, a Missouri judge ruled Thursday.

The ruling came after a preliminary hearing in which a dozen witnesses testified and multiple exhibits were admitted into evidence, including 911 calls from neighbors as well as the defendant.

Ralph Yarl, the teenager who was allegedly shot twice by 84-year-old Andrew Lester, also testified at the hearing.

“It’s important for the judge when they’re making a determination on probable cause to hear the evidence. Part of that evidence was Ralph’s testimony,” prosecutor Zachary Thompson said after the hearing.

“Any time someone has to talk about a traumatic experience it’s not easy,” the prosecutor added. “So we respect all those who … make that decision to testify.”

Lester’s next court appearance will be on September 20.

On the night of April 13, the defendant allegedly shot Ralph – who was 16 at the time – in the head and arm after he rang the man’s doorbell. Police and Ralph’s family said the teen was trying to pick up his siblings but went to the wrong address.

The homeowner opened fire through a locked glass door without any words exchanged because he thought the teen was trying to break in and was “scared to death” due to the boy’s size, according to statements in a probable cause document.

In a 911 call played in court Thursday, Lester told a dispatcher he shot Ralph and that he believed the teen was trying to break in, according to CNN affiliate KMBC.

Lester pleaded not guilty in April to the charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action before being released on a $200,000 bond.

Steven Salmon, Lester’s attorney, said there was “no evidence that race had anything to do” with the shooting, KMBC reported.

“Also, there was an admission that Yarl grabbed the storm door handle of Lester’s door to gain access to the house. That is a critical aspect of this case and has been Mr. Lester’s contention all along,” said Salmon, according to the station.

Lester told police he opened his interior door and “saw a black male approximately 6 feet tall pulling on the exterior storm door handle,” according to the probable cause document.

Ralph is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds, according to his family’s attorney.

The Reporter Newspaper
bottom of page