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Ralph Yarl expected to make full recovery; suspect pleaded not guilty

The 16-year-old is recovering after being shot in the head and arm. His family says he is walking and talking.
Posted at 10:50 AM, Apr 19, 2023

The 16-year-old who was shot when he went to the wrong house to pick up his siblings is expected to make a full recovery.

The family attorney for Ralph Yarl posted a picture of him with the teen on Instagram, detailing his incredible recovery and how close he came to death. 

"Had the bullet hit his head a fraction of an inch in any other direction he would probably be dead right now," attorney Lee Merritt said in the post. 

Despite the positive outlook on Ralph's physical recovery, his aunt said her nephew will need to do a lot of work to recover emotionally.

"There's a major part of Ralph that died on Thursday. What Ralph went through, he lost a part of himself that day," Faith Spoonmore said on CNN. 

The man accused of shooting Ralph, 84-year-old Andrew Lester, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. He bonded out of jail on Tuesday, hours after being formally charged. 

Ralph Yarl

Man charged in shooting of Ralph Yarl

Andrew Lester turned himself in in Kansas City on Tuesday. He is charged in the shooting of Ralph Yarl.


Lester is charged with felony counts of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. 

He reportedly claimed he feared for his life when the shooting occurred. According to Kansas City Police Department's probable cause statement, Lester told officers that no words were exchanged prior to the shooting. 

If convicted on both charges, Lester could spend the rest of his life in jail.

The shooting has renewed the conversation about guns and race in America. People have marched in support of Ralph and sent him messages. 

Ralph's aunt said she takes time to read the messages to her nephew.

"It warms our hearts to see him smile at all the kind words," she stated. 

Ralph Yarl

Ben Crump: There's no relief until Ralph Yarl’s shooter is convicted

Attorney Ben Crump says the charges brought against Andrew Lester are the right response, but that there won't be relief without a conviction.