CASSELTON, N.D. — A man who fatally shot another man who broke into a woman’s apartment last month in Casselton will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said.

The Cass County State’s Attorney's Office can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Edwin Charles Kester Jr. wasn’t acting in self-defense or in the defense of the woman who lived in the apartment when Randell Ray Burton, 58, of Casselton broke in Oct. 18, according to a Nov. 15 letter declining prosecution.

The letter, obtained Monday, Nov. 22, by The Forum through a public records request, said prosecutors would not file criminal charges against Kester.

Burton was accused of terrorizing and domestic violence for an Oct. 14 incident involving the woman at the same location, which is connected to the Club 94 restaurant at 15568 37th St. S.E. in Casselton. Burton threatened to kill the woman, with whom he had an off-and-on relationship, as well as another man who tried to interfere during the incident, according to court documents.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Court documents revealed the woman and Burton were arguing about her owing him $200 for a water pump before he grabbed and pinned her against a wall. He then forced her through the back door into a parking lot, court documents said.

Burton posted 10% of his $10,000 bond on Oct. 17, two days after his court appearance. He was ordered to stay 300 yards away from the woman, according to prosecutors.

Burton broke through two locked doors to get into the woman’s apartment, and Kester shot at Burton three times as the intruder ran toward the woman’s bedroom, according to a search warrant obtained by The Forum.

Burton died at Sanford Medical Center from a gunshot wound to his heart, the warrant said.

Prosecutors cited Burton's threats and assault on the woman, the violation of the protection order and forced entry into the woman's home as reasons not to pursue charges.

The woman had changed the locks to her apartment, prosecutors said. Friends had stayed with her due to the woman being afraid of Burton being out of jail, the warrant said.

At about 1:45 p.m. Oct. 18, the woman's friends left, but Kester agreed to stay with her so she could sleep, the warrant said.

Surveillance footage showed Burton driving someone else's vehicle behind a gas station across the street from Club 94, according to the warrant. The letter from prosecutors said video caught Burton standing outside a window looking at or listening to activity inside.

Detectives believed Burton was checking the area and waiting for the woman's friends to leave before he parked in front of the restaurant and entered the building, the warrant said.

The Forum, which usually does not identify victims of domestic violence, chose not to identify the woman in this case.