Ex-Wife of Man Who Shot Teen That Rang His Door Bell Recalls His Fits of Rage and Violence When They Were Married.
The ex-wife of the man charged with shooting 16-year-old Ralph Yarl in the head has spoken out about his alleged violent behavior when they were married.
Mary Clayton, 81, who was married to Andrew Lester, 84, when she was young, said he was prone to violence during their troubled 14-year marriage and that it “doesn’t surprise” her that he pulled a gun on the teenage boy when the child mistakenly showed up at his address.
Mary Clayton said she has not spoken to Lester in decades and didn’t even recognize him when he appeared in the news for allegedly shooting Yarl twice — once in the head and once in the arm — after the boy mistakenly knocked on his door to pick up his younger twin brothers, who were actually at a nearby home.
Clayton, who had three children with Lester, said one of her daughters called her in California on Tuesday, April 18, in shock at the shooting.
“I was always scared of him. It doesn’t surprise me what happened,” Clayton told the newspaper.
She said her ex-husband had a tendency to erupt in anger and would smash items in their home during his fits of fury, adding that cops told her he could do whatever he wanted in his own home.
On Wednesday, April 19, Lester pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action, felonies that carry 10 to 30 years or life in prison.
Klint Ludwig, 28, a grandson of the suspect, has expressed his support for Yarl and his family.
“I was horrified. I thought it was terrible. It was inexcusable. It was wrong,” Klint Ludwig told the Kansas City Star about the shooting.
“I stand with Ralph, and really want his family to achieve justice for what happened to them,” he said. “Their child or grandchild or nephew’s life was fundamentally changed forever, over a mistake and someone being scared and fearful.”
The grandson, who lives in the Kansas City area, said he felt “terribly” for Yarl and was relieved that he survived and is recovering from his injuries.
“I know his life is changed forever. And I’m really sorry,” he told the Star.
Ludwig also criticized police and Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson for the way they handled the initial investigation and not charging his grandfather immediately.
“The only reason why he is now receiving charges and an investigation is being held was because of community outreach to bring attention to this,” he told the outlet. “The response has been great. It’s been amazing to see this solidarity and coming together as a community.”
When asked if he considers his grandfather, Lester, to be racist, Ludwig said: “I believe that there have been some positions that he’s held that have been bigoted or sort of disparaging.”
He attributed Lester’s views to his staunch conservative views.
“It’s ‘Anybody who gets an abortion is a murderer’ and ‘Fatherless black families are the reason why crime exists in this country.’ It’s stuff everybody’s heard at the Thanksgiving table every year,” Ludwig said of his grandfather’s views.