Boy, 12, charged in murder of 9-year-old

A 12-year-old boy is being charged as an adult with open murder in the stabbing death of a 9-year-old boy at a Grand Rapids-area playground.
Aug 6, 2014


Jamarion Lawhorn pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon in Kent County Family Court. WZZM-TV is identifying the minor because he is being charged as an adult.

Lawhorn is accused of repeatedly stabbing Michael Conner Verkerke in the back at the Pinebrook Village mobile home park Monday evening.

Neighbors said Conner, as he was called, ran screaming to his home and collapsed bleeding on his porch. He died later Monday evening at a hospital.

Lawhorn used a neighbor's phone to call 911 and turn himself in. He was arrested and taken to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.

"We were sitting on our deck," said Barb Poelman, 60. "We heard the kids run across the front ... screaming. (Conner) ran with the kids that were with him."

A little later, Poelman said the boy's distraught mother lay on the grass outside the family's home in Kentwood.

"She was screaming, 'Where is the ambulance?' while her boy was laying on the porch bleeding," Poelman said. "The kids, I thought they were just playing."

Witnesses told investigators that four children were playing when Lawhorn, for unknown reasons, pulled a knife and stabbed the boy.

Glen Stacy, who lives nearby, described Lawhorn after the stabbing as "very calm."

"The only time he raised his voice was when the police came," Stacy said.

The motive in the attack was still being investigated, said Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Hillen. Police said Lawhorn was evaluated at a hospital before being taken to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.

Family and friends are planning a candlelight vigil at the playground for 7 tonight to memorialize Conner.

In court Tuesday, Lawhorn's defense attorney asked for a competency evaluation to make sure he understands the case against him. The boy will be tried in family court and could be given an adult sentence, but will not receive a mandatory life sentence because of recent changes to the law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



We live in a hopeless bleak technological society. Have been over hearing teenagers talk lately downtown. They have no hope for their futures. Summarizing one teens discussion here while at the carnival. There are no job prospects - everything has been replaced by technology - but your monthly bills keep coming in. But their is no means to be able to pay them and earn a living until your 70 years old which is their retirement age. Gave it some thought - look at the bowling alley. The machine sets the pins and keeps score. Those are two jobs long lost. Now work that out 50 years what do we have now. Robotics, automation along with software that has replaced jobs. Careers have vanished and continue to vanish with every innovation. But the people still get their electric bills and standing overhead monthly liabilities. Farming is even getting automated, but the migrants keep coming and draining our systems down. The apathy and disillusionment among some young people is so disturbing. The indifference. Their is no viable to solution to our problems were seeing in young people. They can't earn a living like a 19 year old could in 1965. They don't have the pensions and retirement anticipation a 19 year old of 1965 could look forward to. So what to they do? They don't care anymore, they have become like the machines that replaced em and just commit violent crimes with no emotion on their faces what so ever. We as a society better take a long look at housing, constructive things to do for people because money itself isn't attainable any more for the masses. Were going to have an onslaught that will destroy our society. It will turn into Bosnia or the middle east in nothing is done. These young people need a future and those of us that think we are all knowing proud stubborn old people better come up with solutions or we will all suffer for it.


While that is part of the problem, the larger problem is people live WAY outside of their means.

It is possible to live a very good and exciting life on less than $12,000/yr. the problem is, everybody wants huge houses, nice new cars, and the latest status symbols. Everybody tries to keep up with the Joneses.

Live in a small house, grow your own veggies in the garden, supplemented by goods from your local farmers market, ditch the TV and majority of possessions, and actually go outside and enjoy free entertainment such as camping, hiking, cycling, free concerts, or even just socializing with your fellow man instead of looking at a screen. You will quickly discover yourself living a much more fulfilling life for literally next to no money.

I have pared my personal possessions (excluding bed, couch, car, and bicycle) down to the level where everything I own, need and want fits into a single 85liter hiking backpack. It is so liberating knowing I can just pack up and go to another state or another country at a moments notice. I have no use for credit cards. I have absolutely no debt, except a car which was admittedly a very bad decision that I am now stuck with until it is paid off. If I need something, I save and pay cash.

This lifestyle has not only allowed me to greatly appreciate the much smaller things in life, but has also allowed me to live comfortably on $1,000/month. I could probably go as low as $600/month if I really wanted.

Harry Kovaire

It's only kind of funny that you posted that using the internet.


Nope......most kids are just too lazy today and would rather stay inside playing video games and gossiping over Facebook on a beautiful sunny Michigan summer day. That pretty much sums it up. There are many jobs being offered, even manufacturing, yet most of the people I hear complain the most don't apply for such an opportunity.

If you want it you must earn it!


Too bad Verkerke didn't live in Grand Haven. We don't have any Jamarion's running wild. He probably was fatherless too.


No idea how these comments are even related to the article.

There is always a bright future for anyone willing to work to get it.
Ok fine, we don't have people sweating to death setting pins in a bowling alley. But we have engineers designing the pin setters. We have machinist building the components. We have assembly workers putting them together. We have maintenance people who keep them working.

Technology will replace some jobs. Always does, but that technology produces more jobs and more opportunities. People just don't want to work hard, or smart.

There is always a future for those willing to work for it.


Lord help us one dead,the other probably will become mentally dead.

deuce liti

Who lets a 12 year-old and a 9 year-old play at a park with no parental supervision?

If you cant leave your child home alone until a certain age or babysit without training how can you allow your child to go do whatever by themselves?


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.