LANSING, Mich. — Jamarion Lawhorn was 12 years old when he fatally stabbed 9-year-old Michael Connor Verkerke on a Kentwood playground in 2014. Lawhorn was the youngest person ever charged with murder in Kent County.
Lawhorn is now 16, and he learned Thursday the Michigan Supreme Court won’t be hearing his appeal of a 2017 ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The state’s highest court said it would not address some questions that arose in the lower court.
Lawhorn was convicted by a jury in September 2015 of first-degree murder after confessing to the crime, allegedly. He received a blended sentence in November 2015 and was sent to the Muskegon River Youth Home for detention, where he remains. At that time, Lawhorn was ordered to be re-sentenced as an adult when he turns 21.
But the defense attorneys have argued Lawhorn’s confession should not have been allowed to be brought up in court, given his age and the parental abuse he suffered prior to the crime. Anita Lawhorn was convicted of third-degree child abuse in September 2015, and Jamarion’s stepfather, Bernard Harrold, pleaded guilty to third-degree child abuse in 2014.
Both were sentenced to one year in jail and five years’ probation.