Prosecutors have confirmed a 12-year-old stabbing suspect will be charged as an adult. Jamarion Lawhorn, age 12, was arrested and charged in the murder of 9-year-old Michael Conner Verkerke. Jamarion reportedly stabbed Michael in the back on a Kentwood, Michigan, playground.
Following the brutal attack, Connor managed to run home. However, witnesses said he collapsed on his front porch. Although he was transported to a local hospital for treatment, the 9-year-old later died.
As reported by News Observer, Jamarion ran to a neighbor’s home and asked to use the phone. Glen Stacy said the boy remained “very calm” as he called authorities to confess. According to Stacy, Jamarion told the 911 operator that he “just stabbed someone” and “want[ed] to die.”
The 12-year-old stabbing suspect was arrested and taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation. He was later transported to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.
It is unclear what motivated Jamarion to stab the 9-year-old boy. Tiffany Armijo said her son witnessed the deadly assault. According to Armijo, her son and Michael were playing together when they were approached by the suspect.
Authorities have not disclosed whether Conner knew his attacker. However, Armino said she did not recognize Jamarion from the neighborhood.
Kent County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Chris Becker confirmed Jamarion Lawhorn was designated as an adult in the juvenile court. Although he will be tried and sentenced as a juvenile, the 12-year-old stabbing suspect will be further sentenced as an adult when he turns 21.
Attorney Charles Boekeloo, who represents the defendant, requested a mental health evaluation. Boekeloo is unsure whether Jamarion is fit to stand trial.
As reported by CBS News, Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Hillen said “four children were playing in the playground area when one of the children, for an unknown reason, pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed one of the other children.”
Although Jamarion Lawhorn readily confessed the attack, it is unclear why he was carrying a knife and what prompted him to stab the 9-year-old boy. Hillen said “it would appear that the suspect did not know the other three children.” However, officials will continue to investigate to “make sure that’s correct.”
The police chief said the assault has stunned the entire community. Violent crimes involving children are specifically tragic. The Kentwood murder is even more disturbing, as it is unclear what motivated the 12-year-old stabbing suspect.