A Kansas City judge has made a ruling in Ralph Yarl‘s case ahead of his reported gunman’s upcoming court appearance.
According to The Associated Press, Andrew Lester is scheduled to appear in court today (June 1) after pleading not guilty to first-degree assault and armed criminal action. The charges are in relation to the shooting of Yarl, a 17-year-old high schooler. However, on Tuesday (May 30), Clay County Judge Louis Angles granted a request made by Lester’s lawyer.
The judge agreed to seal the court documents in the case. The news comes after the 84-year-old homeowner’s attorney claimed publicity led to threats against Lester, who has moved three times.
A Clay County judge has sealed evidence in the case against Andrew Lester, the man accused of shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl. The judge’s reasons for doing it and reaction from a local attorney tonight @kmbc and https://t.co/WpN2x04B9P pic.twitter.com/m9lZICHtUE
— Andy Alcock (@AndyKMBC9) May 31, 2023
“The overwhelming majority of the reporting continues to assert that the alleged actions of [Lester] were racially motivated. Which, if believed, virtually eliminates the defense available to [Lester] related to the reasonableness of his actions,” Angles wrote.
Citizens nationwide learned about Yarl and Lester after the teenager mistakenly rang the homeowner’s doorbell. As previously mentioned, the Black high schooler walked through his neighborhood to pick up his younger siblings. Yarl mistook Lester’s home for the one that occupied his brothers a block over.
When Lester encountered the teen, he reportedly shot him in the head and arm. Although officers questioned Lester after the shooting, authorities didn’t arrest him until after the district attorney filed charges. The 84-year-old later posted bail. He admitted to police that he shot Yarl. But Lester claimed the shooting was out of fear the Black person standing at his door would rob him.
First responders transported the teen to the hospital. Doctors discharged him days later. However, the incident reportedly left Yarl with a traumatic brain injury. On May 29, Yarl made his first public appearance since the shooting. He attended the annual Going the Distance for Brain Injury awareness event with his family and supporters.
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