Ralph Yarl, 16, went to pick up his younger siblings on April 13, 2023, and his life was forever altered. He accidentally went to the wrong house and was shot in front of the residence by the homeowner, according to Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves.
Andrew D. Lester, 84, was charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action on April 17. He turned himself in the next day. According to Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson, there was a racial component to this case.
If convicted, Lester may face life in jail. Thompson noted during a news conference that the accusation of criminal assault in the first degree has a minimum punishment of 10 to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of life in prison. It is unclear at this point if Lester has hired a lawyer to represent him.
According to Ralph Yarl’s lawyer, Ben Crump, the adolescent is still suffering from the trauma of the occurrence. His family is relieved that he survived, but they are aware that his rehabilitation, both psychologically and physically, will be lengthy. Yarl was discharged from the hospital on April 17th.
He’s not out of the woods yet, Crump added, but the good news is that (medical officials) said he was stable enough to go home. This is excellent news.
Yarl’s parents advised him to travel to N.E. 115th Terrace on that fateful day. He traveled to N.E. 115th Street by mistake. He had no notion he had arrived at the incorrect address. He rang the doorbell after parking in the driveway.
Lester is accused of shooting Yarl twice in the head and once in the arm. He’s never denied shooting Yarl. He claimed he was acting in self-defense after Yarl tugged on the exterior storm door handle. Yarl disputes this.
Yarl did not cross the threshold to enter the house, according to Thompson. Yarl did nothing to irritate Lester. There were no “words exchanged,” according to Thompson. Lester fired a.32-caliber pistol through the glass door.
Yarl is a high-achieving student. In his high school band program, he is a section leader. He aspires to attend Texas A&M University for college.
Lester is not currently charged with a hate crime. There is no allegation of racial prejudice in any of the records linked to his accusations. This may change.
Lester is being detained at the Clay County Detention Center. Unless he posts bail, he will be held there until his arraignment. The bail amount is set at $200,000.
The shooting of Ralph Yarl has sparked widespread outcry due to the unfairness of the situation. Pictures asking that Lester be prosecuted for the shooting have inundated social media. Halle Berry, Questlove, and Justin Timberlake are among the celebrities who have spoken out against the case.
Yarl struck a personal chord with Questlove. He wrote that he used to be Ralph. Everyone was Ralph. He assisted Yarl’s parents in obtaining the services of attorneys Lee Merritt and Ben Crump. He’s a brilliant, talented, kind, and outgoing 16-year-old boy from a wonderful family who was shot twice by a white man when Ralph rang the doorbell to pick up his younger siblings, he said. A young black boy has the right to go to 115th Street instead of 115th Terrace WITHOUT BEING SHOT. Period!