DENVER (KDVR) — After a Kansas City man was charged with shooting a teen who showed up at the wrong house while trying to pick up his sibling, a prosecutor said the shooting was not in self-defense and that Missouri’s “stand your ground” law does not allow it.
Investigators said 84-year-old Andrew Lester shot 16-year-old Ralph Yarl in the head and arm last week as he knocked on his front door. Lester claimed he thought the teen was trying to break in.
Colorado does not have a “stand your ground” statute, but, if you’re in a situation that makes you feel threatened, you have no obligation to retreat. There’s another law in Colorado, which is very similar to “stand your ground” laws in other states, called the “make my day” law.
FOX31 legal analyst George Brauchler said that law breaks down differently than a “stand your ground” law does.
“Missouri’s law is different than Colorado’s, Colorado has a ‘make my day’ law that is limited to really just intruders inside your home inside your dwelling,” he explained. “Missouri’s ‘stand your ground’ law applies to a self-defense statute that actually permits you to take similar action, but on private property. It doesn’t have to be confined to just the house.
“So, I think this is a closer call in Missouri, but honestly both states require the person who uses potentially lethal force to be in fear of serious bodily injury, immediate fear or death [from the person] they’re using force against.”
According to the affidavit, Lester said he was in fear, thinking Yarl was trying to break in. He claimed the unarmed teen was pulling at the storm door of his home when he fired shots.
“If the same thing happened here, you don’t have to wait for the intruder to get all the way into the house, in fact, if that’s what’s being alleged here, you’d have the opportunity to defend yourself and the people inside if you thought this person was breaking in to commit a crime and these folks were at risk,” Brauchler said.
The county attorney, in this case, claimed race also played a factor in why Lester pulled the trigger.
Brauchler said that’s something that will have to be looked at when it’s prosecuted as well.