Attorney: Yarl family had requested special prosecutor to oversee case against Andrew Lester

Ralph Yarl, 16, shot twice on Thursday evening when he showed up to the wrong address...
Ralph Yarl, 16, shot twice on Thursday evening when he showed up to the wrong address attempting to pick up his siblings(kctv)
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 3:42 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - In updating the public on the health of Ralph Yarl and the criminal case against Andrew Lester, the attorney representing the teen’s family said they had requested a special prosecutor in the case.

Lee Merritt stated he had asked that Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker handle the prosecution of the 84-year-old man charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl. Merritt said that Clay County Prosecuting Attorney Zachary Thompson is not recusing himself in the case and is moving forward as the lead prosecutor.

Merritt said the family was initially frustrated with the timeline in Thompson charging Lester.

Lester has pleaded not guilty to armed criminal action and first-degree assault charges and remains free on a $200,000 bond. He is accused of shooting Ralph Yarl on April 13 after the 16-year-old confused Lester’s north Kansas City address with a home about a block away where he was supposed to pick up his younger brothers.

Yarl was shot in the head and arm, and he was released from the hospital after being admitted for three days.

Merritt and some civil rights leaders in the Kansas City area said a hate crime charge is warranted and have called for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.