Andrew Lester, white man charged with shooting black teen Ralph Yahl, out on bail with those seeking additional hate crime charges

Kansas City, Missouri — White of Kansas City, Missouri, the home owner who shot a black teenager when Ralph Yahl struggled to realize he was shot after going to the wrong house to pick up his brother turned himself inwhich was later released on Bond Tuesday.

Andrew Lester, 84, surrendered at the Clay County Detention Center the next day. charged with first-degree assault and armed crimeHe posted bail Tuesday afternoon and faces arraignment Wednesday afternoon. He doesn’t have a lawyer on the list yet.

The assault charge against Lester carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Armed crime carries a range of penalties ranging from 3 to 15 years in prison.

While some civil rights leaders have called for hate crime charges, Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said first-degree assault is more likely to involve a longer prison term, which can be up to life in prison. He said it was a high-level crime.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jarl family, said the case should be classified as a hate crime.

“Ralph Jarl was shot because he was armed with nothing but dark skin,” he said.

As Jarl recovered from his wounds, supporters, civil rights leaders, and politicians gathered in downtown Kansas City to call for justice for 16-year-old Jarl and a stronger campaign to improve race relations between Missouri and the United States. required effort.

Speakers urged crowds to support Jarl, fight for justice, pass discriminatory laws, and remove politicians who support gun rights.

Many held placards that read, “He’s only 16,” and “Is this what Kansas City is for? Stop Gun Violence.”

Merritt said the family was also upset that police had held Lester for only two hours after the shooting.

“If they had held him for 24 hours, they would have held him long enough to get a statement from a kid who had a bullet in his brain,” Merritt said. received.”

in the meantime Tuesday’s interview “CBS Morning” Ralph’s mother, Cleo Nagbe, said her son suffered gunshot wounds to the right upper arm and left frontal lobe above his left eye. said he would remain with his son “for quite some time.”

She said Ralph is fine, but the trauma remains evident.

He can communicate “when he feels like it,” but “most of the time he just sits there staring and buckets of tears just roll down from his eyes.” she said.

“I can see him repeating the situation over and over. It doesn’t stop my tears either. Because when I see your child just sitting there, he’s always Because tears are just rolling down both sides of his eyes, there’s nothing I can say to him,” Nagbe said.

of The shooting occurred around 10 p.m. ThursdayAccording to Police Chief Stacey Graves, Jarl’s parents asked him to pick up his twin brothers from their home at 115.

Earl, an honor student and member of the Jeonju Band, accidentally went to 115th Street, a block away from his intended location. When he rang the bell, Lester came to the door and shot Jarl in the forehead, then again in his right forearm.

Lester told police he lived alone and was “scared to death” when he saw a black man on the porch and someone trying to break in, according to a probable cause statement. told police he feared the man’s size, Lester’s age (84), and Lester’s “inability to defend himself.”

No words were exchanged before the shooting, but as Jarl tried to flee afterward, he heard Lester yell, “Don’t come here.”

The statement said Jarl ran to “several” homes and found people calling the police for help.

James Lynch was the neighbor who found Yarl. He did not respond to requests for an interview, but his wife confirmed NBC News reports that Lynch heard screams and saw Jarl banging on the door of another house.

“‘Help, help, I’ve been shot! A father of three children ran out and found a bloody Jarl. Lynch checked his pulse, and when another neighbor came out with a towel, The bleeding was stopped until the ambulance arrived.

The shooting infuriated many in Kansas City and across the country. President Biden was among those demanding justice. He spoke with Jarl on Monday and invited him to the White House.

“No parent should worry about their child getting shot for ringing the wrong doorbell,” Biden tweeted. “We must continue to fight gun violence.”

Thompson said Monday that there was a “racial element” to the shooting. Assistant Prosecutor Alexander Higginbotham said in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday that “there is no racial element in the lawsuit filed.”

Mr Merritt said the Jarl family met Mr Thompson personally and asked why he said there was a racial dimension to the case without elaborating. Merritt, who said, “reflects what law enforcement says there are racial dynamics at work,” calling the answer “shallow.”

About 150 supporters attended a rally at police headquarters on Tuesday, chanting “justice for Ralph” and demanding an investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice. .

Bishop Frank Douglas of The Church of God in Christ said the United States was experiencing its own apartheid and that it would have been “time to lynch” had the shooters been black.

“We’re spotlighting what’s been going on for over 100 years,” said Douglas. “We were set free, but we didn’t get love.”

Karen Allman, 61, said she didn’t know Leicester and didn’t know about the shooting, but had lived in the Leicester neighborhood for 32 years. She attended Wednesday’s rally to support Jarl and his family.

“I don’t know what those black people go through on a daily basis,” said Allman, who is white. I know it’s not possible.”

Prosecuting Lester for a hate crime could mean a shorter prison term if he is convicted, experts said.

Professor Peter Joy of the University of Washington School of Law said state hate crime laws are only used to strengthen lesser felony or misdemeanor charges.

“What the prosecutors did was indict (Lester) with the highest felony they could charge,” Joy said.

Legal experts believe Lester’s attorneys will assert the right to self-defense under Missouri’s “stand your ground” law. Missouri is he one of about 30 states with such laws.

Robert Spitzer, professor emeritus of political science at the State University of New York-Cortland, whose research has focused on gun policy and politics, notes that Missouri law provides “wide latitude for people to use lethal force.” said there is.

St. Louis attorney Nina McDonnell agreed. She said prosecutors have a strong case, but the stand-your-ground defense is a “huge hurdle” to overcome.

“The defendant said he was at home and was terrified,” McDonnell said.

Meanwhile, Yarl’s GoFundMe fundraising goal of $2.5 million was already over $3 million as of early Wednesday. Andrew Lester, white man charged with shooting black teen Ralph Yahl, out on bail with those seeking additional hate crime charges

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