Document: 12-Year-Old Boy Accused Of Playground Murder Wanted To Go To Jail
GRAND RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – A 12-year-old boy accused of fatally stabbing a 9-year-old boy on a western Michigan playground told authorities he wanted to go to jail and did not know the victim, according to a court document filed Friday.
The delinquency petition filed in Kent County Circuit Court said 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn told investigators he’s “bad and always does stupid things.” He added he thought he’d be killed “for doing something like this,” according to The Grand Rapids Press.
Lawhorn said he didn’t know how many times he stabbed Michael Connor Verkerke at the Pinewood Village Mobile Home Park in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. He initially said he wasn’t concerned for the victim, then said he was concerned because “it made him feel stupid,” an investigator wrote.
Lawhorn also told police he would get mocked at school for getting in trouble, and be called “dumb” and “black.”
Lawhorn’s attorney, Charles Boekeloo, entered a not-guilty plea for his client Tuesday, a day after the stabbing.
Lawhorn is designated as an adult in the juvenile court system, which would allow the boy, if convicted, to be sentenced as a juvenile and then as an adult once he turns 21, according to Chris Becker, Kent County’s chief assistant prosecutor.
WWJ is identifying Lawhorn, who turned 12 in March, because he is charged as an adult.
According to police, Verkerke was playing with his 7-year-old brother, his 9-year-old best friend and 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn around 6 p.m. Monday when the older boy pulled a knife and repeatedly stabbed Verkerke in the back.
Verkerke ran to his home and collapsed, bleeding on the porch, while Lawhorn went to a neighbor’s home nearby to call police and turn himself in. Verkerke died a short time later at a hospital.
Lawhorn has been described as behaving “very calmly” after the stabbing. Witnesses said the boy mentioned that he was upset because nobody loved him, and that he had taken multiple pills earlier in the day.
Boekeloo told a court referee he may seek a mental evaluation to determine if Lawhorn is competent to stand trial. The boy was ordered held until an Aug. 13 preliminary hearing.
Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Laura Clifton said she believes Lawhorn is the youngest defendant in Kent County charged with open murder.
A online fundraiser has been established to help Verkerke’s family with expenses. As of Saturday morning, more than $21,000 had been raised. To donate, click here.
TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.