Andrew Lester Pleads Not Guilty in Shooting of Ralph Yarl

Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old Kansas City resident accused of shooting teenager Ralph Yarl, entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on Wednesday morning. Lester, charged with felony assault and armed criminal action, allegedly shot Yarl on the evening of April 13 after the latter mistakenly arrived at Lester’s home to collect his twin siblings.

During the August 31 preliminary hearing, Clay County Judge Louis Angles deemed there was sufficient probable cause for the case to proceed to trial, slated to commence on October 7, 2024, following 12 witness testimonies. Lester waived his rights to have the charges read, with the next docket call scheduled for December 15.

Ralph Yarl recounted the traumatic experience at the hearing, stating he had rung the doorbell and waited for a longer-than-usual time before the incident occurred. He was shot twice – first in the head and then in the arm – as he reached for the storm door, which was locked. Yarl, who sustained a traumatic brain injury, emphasized that he did not engage in any conversation with Lester before being shot.

According to a police statement, Lester claimed to have fired the shots in quick succession after opening the door, fearing an attempted break-in. The statement highlighted Lester’s description of seeing “a Black male approximately 6 feet tall pulling on the exterior storm door handle,” prompting him to believe his house was being burgled.

Lester’s attorney, Steven Salmon, had confirmed the not guilty plea to ABC News on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, Zachary Thompson, announced the charges during an April 17 press conference.

Yarl spoke about the horrifying ordeal in a June 27 interview with “GMA,” describing how he was shot through a glass door and his frantic attempts to escape and seek help, shouting “Help me, help me” as he ran away.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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