GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – A judge says a 13-year-old boy is competent for trial in the fatal stabbing of a 9-year-old boy at a western Michigan playground.
The decision by Kent County Family Court Judge Paul Denenfeld is in line with a state expert’s finding. It conflicts with the opinion from an expert hired by the boy’s lawyer that the child couldn’t sufficiently understand the charges and aid in his defense.READ MORE: Michigan Man Linked To Supremacist Group Gets 56 Months To 20 Years
Defense lawyer Charles Boekeloo told The Grand Rapids Press he plans an insanity defense.
The boy is charged with murder in the death in August of Michael Verkerke at a playground in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids.
According to police, Verkerke was playing with his 7-year-old brother, his 9-year-old best friend and his alleged killer on Aug. 4, 2014, when the then 12-year-old boy pulled a knife and stabbed Verkerke in the back.General Motors Reinstates Dividend Suspended In Pandemic
Verkerke ran to his home and collapsed, bleeding on the porch, while the alleged attacker went to a neighbor’s home nearby to call police and turn himself in.
According to a court filing, the 12-year-old told investigators he stabbed Verkerke because he wanted to go to jail, that he is “bad and always does stupid things,” and that he thought he’d be killed “for doing something like this.”
The accused boy’s parents were charged with child abuse, which authorities believe may have contributed to the boy’s mental state, and, in turn, the stabbing,
Trial for the 13-year-old set to start July 15. He’s not being named in media reports due to his age.MORE NEWS: Detroit's Historic Marlborough Apartments To Reopen For First Time In 40 Years
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