LIBERTY, Mo. — Health issues prevented a Northland man charged in a high-profile shooting from appearing at a scheduled court hearing Monday afternoon.

Andrew Lester’s attorney Steven Salmon appeared at the hearing on behalf of his client. Salmon told the court Lester is in poor health. He had heart surgery earlier this year and has lost 40 pounds since the shooting last month.

Lester is accused of shooting and injuring 16-year-old Ralph Yarl on April 13 in a Northland Kansas City neighborhood. Investigators said the teenager confused Lester’s address with a home about a block away where he was supposed to pick up his younger brothers.

Lester’s health and concern about a fair trial are two reasons Salmon asked the judge to seal the case before trial. Salmon also claims Lester is being harassed and threatened because of the case.

He also told the judge that people are calling Lester’s personal phone to threaten him. His house has been vandalized, and his wife had to move three different times and is now at a nursing home outside of Kansas City because of the threats.

Salmon told the judge he is also concerned that some witnesses called to testify on behalf of Lester may feel intimidated because of the attention the case is getting.

He pointed out that both President Biden and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas have made public comments on the shooting. In addition, people have protested outside Lester’s home, the Clay County Courthouse, and other locations in the metro.

Clay County Prosecutor Zachary Thompson argued the case should remain unsealed to ensure transparency and the integrity of the case. Thompson also said if the judge decides to seal the case, the public needs specific reasons why he made the decision.

The judge took the motion under advisement and will announce a decision at a future time.

Yarl survived the shooting and continues to recover. Doctors said the teenager is expected to make a full recovery.

Lester pleaded not guilty to armed criminal action and first-degree assault in April. He is scheduled to be back in court on June 1.