Trial of Andrew Lester, who shot Ralph Yarl after teen rang the wrong doorbell, set for next year
Lester, an 84-year-old white man, was charged with two felonies for shooting Ralph Yarl, a Black teen, April 13. His trial is set for October 2024.
Andrew Lester, the Kansas City man charged with shooting Black teenager Ralph Yarl after the teen rang his doorbell by mistake, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday. He is charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, both felonies.
Lester, an 84-year-old white man, shot then-16-year-old Yarl in the head and arm on April 13 after Yarl attempted to pick up his twin siblings from Lester’s house by mistake.
At the arraignment, Lester waived his rights to have the charges read and entered a not guilty plea. He had already pleaded not guilty during an early court appearance in April, but this largely procedural step comes after Clay County Judge Louis Angles ruled last month that there was sufficient evidence for him to stand trial.
A trial is set for October 7, 2024, at 9 a.m. A docket call is scheduled for December 15.
In May, the case was sealed from the public after a motion from Lester’s defense team. They argued that the high-profile case cast Lester in a “negative light” and would prevent him from receiving a fair trial.
Both Thompson and Yarl’s family opposed the seal.
At the preliminary hearing, Yarl testified for about 40 minutes. He said he thought he was at the correct house the night he was shot and would be welcomed in. Instead, he testified that Lester opened his door and said “Don’t come here ever again,” before shooting him twice through his glass storm door.
Prosecutors also played a recording of the 911 call that Lester made that night, where Lester can be heard telling police that someone rang his “damn doorbell.” He then told police, “He wanted in my house but I shot him.”
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