Black teen shot in Kansas City going to wrong house, homeowner goes to trial

Black teen shot in Kansas City going to wrong house, homeowner goes to trial
*(CNN) — A Missouri judge ruled on Thursday that the White homeowner accused of shooting a Black youngster who went to the wrong Kansas City house in April will go on trial for the incident.

The decision was made during a preliminary hearing in which twelve witnesses gave testimony and numerous exhibits—including 911 calls from the defendant's neighbors—were accepted into evidence.

"It's crucial that the judge hear the evidence before deciding if there is probable cause. Ralph's testimony was one piece of that evidence, said prosecutor Zachary Thompson following the hearing.

"Anytime someone has to talk about a traumatic experience, it's not easy," the prosecutor continued. Therefore, "we respect all those who choose to testify."

The following court date for Lester is September 20.

Ralph, who was 16 at the time, allegedly rang the defendant's doorbell on the evening of April 13 and was then shot in the head and arm by the defendant. The teen was allegedly trying to pick up his siblings when he went to the wrong home, according to police and Ralph's relatives.

According to allegations in a probable cause affidavit, the homeowner shot the teenager through a locked glass door without exchanging words because he believed the teenager was attempting to break in and was "scared to death" by the boy's size.

According to CNN affiliate KMBC, Lester claimed that he shot Ralph during a 911 call that was heard in court on Thursday and that he thought the kid was attempting to break in.

Before being released on a $200,000 bond, Lester entered a not guilty plea to the counts of first-degree assault and armed criminal action in April.

According to Steven Salmon, Lester's lawyer, "no evidence that race had anything to do" with the incident, according to KMBC.

Additionally, Yarl was acknowledged to have entered the home by grabbing the handle of Lester's storm door. According to the station, Salmon stated, "That is a crucial element of this case and has been Mr. Lester's stance throughout.

Lester told police that when he opened his internal door, he "saw a black male approximately 6 feet tall pulling on the exterior storm door handle," according to the probable cause report.

According to the family's lawyer, Ralph is 140 pounds and 5 feet, 8 inches tall.

It's not yet known if the lawsuit will involve "stand your ground" rules. In any location where a person has the right to be, the laws allow people to react to threats or force without worrying about facing legal repercussions.

Lester's counsel informed the court that their client had received death threats and that publicity could prevent him from receiving a fair trial. As a result, the judge granted a motion to seal evidence in the criminal case in June.

Protests were sparked by the incident in Kansas City.

The incident aroused concerns regarding the shooting's racial undertones as well as how Lester was handled by law officials after being arrested for a short period of time. Lester was released, according to a prosecutor, because more investigation was required by the police.

The incident was one of several shootings that occurred at the period in which young people were shot after erroneously visiting a location.

According to authorities and Ralph's family, Ralph was asked to pick up his siblings and went to 1100 NE 115th Street instead of 1100 NE 115th Terrace.

Ralph claimed that after ringing the doorbell and after some time, someone finally answered the door and shot him in the head, forcing him to fall, according to the probable cause statement. Ralph informed police that the shooter then opened fire once more while the teen was still lying on the ground, striking him in the arm.

Ralph faces a challenging road to rehabilitation, both mentally and physically, according to attorneys for the Yarl family and relatives.

To assist the family with medical costs, a GoFundMe website was created, and more than $3 million was raised.

The adolescent, who directs the school band and plays bass clarinet, said he intends to study chemical engineering at Texas A&M University.

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