Andrew Lester, man accused in Ralph Yarl shooting, free on bond after not guilty plea

April 20 (UPI) — Andrew Lester, the 84-year-old White man charged with shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl, is free on $200,000 bail after pleading not guilty.

The judge ordered Lester to surrender his passport and established that he cannot own a gun and must have no contact with Yarl.

Lester is charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He faces a maximum of life in prison on the assault charge and 15 years on the gun charge.

Yarl was shot in the head and arm April 13 when he rang the doorbell at the wrong house In Kansas City, Mo., to pick up his siblings. The Black teen is recovering at home.

According to police, Lester said in a statement that shooting Yarl was the last thing he wanted to do, but he was scared to death because he is 84 and Yarl looked big.

Yarl’s attorney Lee Merritt said Yarl’s family is frustrated both with Lester’s not guilty plea and the fact that he is free on bond.

“I think this may have been an opportunity to make it easier on the family to enter a plea of guilty,” Merritt said. “We were hoping that maybe the judge would revoke the bond. We want this process to go as quickly as possible.”

Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson said there is a racial component to the case. But Lester, who is White, wasn’t charged with a hate crime because that is a lesser felony than what he already faces, according to Thompson’s office.

A Go Fund Me to support Yarl as he recovers has raised over $3.3 million as of Thursday morning.

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