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84-year-old man to stand trial accused of shooting black teenager Ralph Yarl who knocked on the wrong door | American news

An 84-year-old homeowner accused of shooting a black teenager after he mistakenly drove to the man’s home must face trial, a Missouri judge has ruled.

Andrew Lester, a retired mechanic, is charged with first-degree assault and felony assault with a weapon after shooting dead Ralph Yarl, now 17, who mistakenly knocked on his house to collect his youngsters brothers on April 13.

Previously Lester pleaded not guiltybut Clay County Judge Louis Angles decided he would stand trial after hearing from several witnesses, including Ralph, in a preliminary hearing.

His next court date is an arraignment, scheduled for September 20.

Speaking softly during his testimony, Ralph said he was sent to pick up his twin brothers but didn’t have a phone after losing it at school.

Ralph Yarl was described by his family members as a talented musician. Picture: Facebook

The house he intended to go to was only a short distance from his own, but he accidentally took the wrong street and knocked on Lester’s front door on 115th Street in Kansas. City.

As the inner door opened, Ralph said he reached out to grab the storm door, assuming Lester was the relative of his brother’s friends.

Instead, Lester told the teenager, “Never come back here again.”

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Ralph said he was shot in the head, the impact knocking him to the ground, and then he was shot in the arm.

The teenager continues to recover from the traumatic brain injury he suffered from the shooting, but plans to study engineering once he graduates from high school.

His father, Paul Yarl, said his son was still suffering from psychological difficulties since the incident.

Defending Lester, attorney Steve Salmon said he was acting in self-defense, terrified of a stranger he believed was trying to rob him.

Photo: AP
Inside the court, a handful of people held up “Justice for Ralph” t-shirts. Photo: AP

“With his age and physical infirmity he is unable to defend himself,” Mr Salmon said, adding that Lester was upset after the incident.

Missouri is one of about 30 states with “stand firm” laws that allow people to respond with physical force when threatened.

Almost $3.5m (£2.7m) has been raised over the past few months to help Ralph and his family.


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