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Andrew Lester, man accused of shooting Ralph Yarl, appears in court

Andrew Lester Mug New.jpg
Posted at 3:25 PM, Apr 09, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The man accused of the 2023 shooting of a Black teenager who mistakenly went to the wrong house to pick up his brothers was back in court on Tuesday, just four days before the one-year anniversary of the crime that has captured nationwide attention.

Andrew Lester, who is free on a $200,000 bond, appeared before Clay County Judge David Paul Chamberlin for a docket call.

The 85-year-old Lester walked in with the assistance of a cane. He was dressed in a blue sport coat and brown pants.

He stood at the podium for the less than five minute docket call.

Lester is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in connection with the shooting of 17-year-old Ralph Yarl.

He has entered a not guilty plea.

Lester will be back in court on Sept. 6, 2024, for a pre-trial hearing . His trial is set for Oct. 7, 2024.

The shooting of Ralph Yarl happened shortly before 10 on April 13, 2023, when the high school student mistakenly went to Lester’s home in the 1100 block of NE 115th Street.

He was supposed to pick up his brothers one block away, in the 1100 block of NE 115th Terrace.

According to court records, Lester shot Yarl through his door twice — once in the head and a second time in the arm.

In audio recordings played in previous court hearings, Lester admitted he shot Yarl.

He said the teenager came up to his house but did not enter his home.

“He was at my door trying to get in and I shot him," Lester, who is white, could be heard saying in the audio. He also described Yarl as a tall, Black man.

In a previous court hearing, Yarl testified that he went to Lester’s home, walked up to the door, and rang the doorbell twice. He said he waited what he thought was a reasonable time before he touched the storm door.

As he did, Yarl said the inner door opened and he saw Lester standing in front of him with a gun.

Yarl said Lester told him: "Don't ever come here again," and the teenager backed away from the door.

Yarl testified that Lester shot him in the head when he was on the ground.

Lester's defense team asked Yarl in a previous court hearing how he entered the wrong home and questioned him about "conflicting statements" he alleged Yarl made.

Lester’s attorney Steve Salmon said Yarl changed his story about whether he tried to open the door.

Salmon said Yarl allegedly told detectives at the hospital that he didn't touch the door.

Salmon also asked Yarl if he could understand how Lester was scared.

The prosecution objected to that question, saying Yarl can't testify on someone else's thoughts.