Former Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor dies from cryptococcal meningitis

Pat Peters was 62
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 19:31:51-05

Described as dedicated and passionate about law, Patrick Peters served as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in Jackson County. 

Attorney James Wyrsch first met Peters when he was a law student at UMKC. 

“I’d been an adjunct professor there since 1981, and he took our class.” 

Wyrsch was also a colleague and friend to his father, whom he calls an outstanding trial lawyer and judge.  Wyrsch says with Pat Peters, the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. 

“With Pat, if he was representing you, you got all of Pat.”

According to his wife and law partner Shelley Peters, Pat had been sick since November, shortly after traveling to Arizona for work. 

On January 21, 2017, he died from cryptococcal meningitis. Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease physician with the University of Kansas Health System, said this form of meningitis is difficult to treat, and although rare, one group is more at risk. 

“There does occasionally seem to be a subset of the population, such as middle age, older men that seem to get it," he said.

Many attorneys around the KC metro, including Wyrsch, describe Peters as a legend in the field.  He took on several high profile cases, including more than a half dozen death penalty cases.  Although his death comes as a shock, his colleagues say his good work and reputation lives on. 

“That’s why I think he had such an excellent reputation in the community,” Wyrsch explains.  “Lawyers observe other lawyers sometimes because they learn something.  Sometimes because they just admire what they’re doing and I think Pat was admired by the community.”



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