Timeline: Boy who confessed to stabbing 9-year-old to death goes to trial

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- On Monday jury selection for the trial for 13-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn completed, one year after he was accused of stabbing a 9 year old boy to death on a Kentwood playground.

Lawhorn, who was 12 at the time of the alleged crime, is the youngest person ever accused of murder in Kent County. In May a judge ruled Lawhorn is competent to stand trial for the stabbing death of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke.

Connor Verkerke, 9.

Connor Verkerke, 9.

Police said Lawhorn was playing with Verkerke and two other boys on Aug. 4 2014, at a playground near Pinebrook Village Mobile Home Park in Kentwood, when he allegedly stabbed the 9-year-old multiple times, killing him.

One boy ran back to his home, while Connor’s 7-year-old brother attempted to carry his dying brother to their parents for help. They tried to provide aid, but the 9-year-old died shortly after the attack.

Court documents later revealed Lawhorn admitted to the murder, telling police he wanted to die himself.

The following is a timeline of several key events leading up to the tragic death of Connor:

  • May 2013: A child abuse investigation was underway against Lawhorn's parents, Anita Lawhorn and Bernard Harrold. Child Protective Services (CPS) was called to Lawhorn's home; the CPS worker found marks on Jamarion and "deplorable" living conditions. However, records show that this CPS worker never reported this incident to Kentwood Police.
  • Aug. 4, 2014: Jamarion Lawhorn, 12, confesses to police to stabbing Connor Verkerke, 9, to death. Lawhorn told police he had taken prescription pills and a knife from home, confessing he wanted to kill someone and wanted to die himself.
  • October 2014: Anita Lawhorn charged with third and fourth degree child abuse after bruises found on Jamarion in Juvenile Detention. This is when the CPS child abuse investigation from May 2013 is discovered. Anita Lawhorn is awaiting trial herself on these child abuse charges.
  • April 2015: Two psychologists evaluated Lawhorn. The psychologist for the defense said Lawhorn is incompetent to stand trial, and the prosecution's psychologist finds Lawhorn competent.
  • March 2015: Anita Lawhorn back behind bars on felony Welfare fraud charges.
  • August 2015: Bernard Harrold pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse, and gets a habitual offender charge dropped. Harrold is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

The trial for Lawhorn is expected to last for four days. Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday morning.

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29 comments

  • Bruce

    Prison for life, we don’t need this psychopath on the loose. He obviously grew up hearing nothing but negative towards anyone white from his drugged mom and her many thug BF’s

    • Bruce

      Should also be charged as a hate crime. We all know how blacks are the most racist people on earth, everything is the white mans fault

        • Bruce

          If the tables were turned and was a white boy that did the killing I am sure we would have been riots, national news and Odumba to the rescue. I am not the problem, the problem is blacks and their inability to get their act together but to only blame everyone else

        • tami

          Obviously not in THIS case…Or certainly not in the case of the white man who was just shot and killed by the “African American” while waiting for a bus to take him to work and whom the “African American” didn’t even know. OR not in the case of the two white Westland teens who were tortured and murdered by a couple of “African Americans” in Detroit. Or not in the case of white girl Paige Stalker who was gunned down by some “African Americans” who haven’t been and probably never will be caught, even though you KNOW someone in the “African American” community knows who did it…And certainly not in the case of Steven Utash, the white truck driver that was beaten nearly to death because he ran over a “African American” brat who was playing in the road. Would you like me to go on? I have a MASSIVE list. And BRUCE is the “problem”? SMH

        • tami

          Had the dead child been “African American” and the killer white, you know damn good and well your outlook would be FAR different. You know it and so do we…

      • marie

        White people want to be black. From top to bottom they’re trying to be black but hate blacks. This has nothing to do with black or white.

  • ST George

    So where is the #justice for Connor ?
    Riots?
    A special TV appearance where the president identifies with the criminal ?
    Anyone seen Al Sharpton ?
    Nothing ? Riots ?

    • tami

      Look, lets face it. White people just don’t give a shit anymore. They SAY they do…ON THE COMPUTER… but in reality, whites are LILY LIVERED COWARDS. Period. AND PERSONALLY, I’m SICK of seeing your kind of posts. They are redundant. Big deal. Who do you think you’re hurting by posting this nonsense? Anyone can post WORDS. White men in this country have been thoroughly emasculated from the waist down. They now have P*SSIES where their P*NISES used to be and the white women have been BRAIN emasculated. Posting this kind of thing serves NO PURPOSE at all. The only person it makes feel anything is the person posting. Me? I’m disgusted by the inaction of whites today…And embarrassed..

  • ST George

    I bet the victims family DIN’T get invited to the White House or appear on national TV with the president.
    Wonder why not? Any theories ?

  • Tammy

    How very sad! I agree he should be punished but prison at that young age? I am just spitting the fence. He is young enough that some serious mental help may just help him. Lets not forget what he has been through in his life. I am not dismissing what he did but his mom should be on trial right next to him. She is after all responsible for all the bad that has happened to this boy even if it was the mothers boyfriend inflicting it she brought that man into this boys life. I do not think this was a racial thing, rather Conner was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Such a sad situation all the way around.

    • tami

      Of COURSE it’s not a “racial thing”. It never is. Unless the dead kid were black and the killer white. You’d be singing out “racist” as loud as you could then.

  • tom

    Bruce, st george , you are both so right, if it was the other way we would have the pres, j j ,al shithead sharpton all here plus the fires

  • Candace

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by what I’m seeing in the comments here. Hateful, racially-charged comments by people who claim they aren’t racist, but in reality, all they can see when they look at a situation like this is RACE. Does no one see the real human tragedy here? Not only the story of an innocent little boy murdered, but also the story of a little boy who was forced to be a part of a broken cycle of misery? Warped by his parents to the point of HOMICIDE, a little boy driven to the desire of death by cop or prison to escape the hell that his 12 year old life was? These are HUMAN BEINGS here! This isn’t just “another black thug”. His actions were terrible. But this child is not wholly to blame for what happened here. He was abused by his parents, forced to live in horrible conditions, and his mind was filled with violence by the TV his parents let him watch. Ultimately, HE made the decision to do what he did, and he must be punished (and so should his parents.) But really? You people are calling for life in prison for a 12 year old? Hang that “POS”? I am ashamed of the human race.

    • Bruce

      Yes life, I don’t want this little menace , future drag on society, and my tax dollars killing another white boy or girl because they happen to be white and in wrong place at the wrong time. I don’t blame him totally and I know he’s just a kid . But his thug mom , thug dad, thug BF’s taught him to hate whitey because they were thug low life’s and all white mans fault no less. Black people are under the impression whites owe them something . As if living on welfare for doing nothing other than making babies isn’t enough . They want what I have which isn’t a lot but they want it for nothing.

      • haley

        I agree 100% with Candace. Your words are disgraceful, Bruce. YES I think this boy should be punished, murder is never okay under any circumstance. But life? He’s 13! He was a product of his environment. It’s spelled it out for you, he had taken prescription drugs and he also wanted to die. That leads me to believe that he wasn’t just killing for fun or because he was this “thug”. You gotta look at both sides of the story. This kid needs mental help, maybe time in jail as well, regardless of his mental state he needs to take responsibility for his actions. but he has many years left to change and realize that we he did will affect the other people forever. Don’t paint a generalized picture of what happened or what might happen just because you can’t see past your racism, man. Get out of here with that ignorant bs.

    • tami

      Well, CANDACE, what do you suppose the black community would be saying if the dead child was black and the killer white? Do you HONESTLY THINK the comments would be ANY DIFFERENT? Did you leave your brain on the short bus again? I guess the “cycle of broken misery” can be attributed to the black race as a whole then considering the murder rate among blacks is so high as is the killing of innocent white people. The problem is with people like YOU. When will people like you STOP the nonsense that we OWE blacks something when the majority of us weren’t even around to have done anything to them BUT make sure they have opportunities. WHEN will people like YOU acknowledge that the black race needs to stop reproducing at such a high rate if they can’t even feed themselves? When will people like YOU STOP feeding into Jesse and Al’s BULLSHIT? Damn it! Do some research ON YOUR OWN, IF you even know how. I’m sick of hearing how WE are somehow responsible for THEIR failures. Face it, if you have more kids than you can FEED, you WILL have undeveloped, uneducated kids. Well, we didn’t have THEIR kids, so WE shouldn’t be expected to feed them. Start handing out birth control and job applications to them. No, they don’t WANT that. They want us to pay for something WE had NO control over. And last, when will people like YOU get it through their heads that there is no race alive that haven’t been slaves at one time or another? Now, go back to licking the black mans boots. You didn’t do a very good job the first time…

  • Lisa

    The interesting thing is that, every time someone black does something wrong or breaks the law, somehow that one black person is tied to all black people in America. When a white person does a bad thing, it’s just an isolated incident. I am African-American, & I don’t feel like “white people” owe me anything. I work just as hard as any other hardworking AMERICAN. Stop generalizing a whole race. That is the problem right there. We are not all the same. I swear every single time someone black makes the news, here comes the hate and the racist comments…and then comes the Obama remarks..blah blah blah a white boy can walk into a room & shoot everybody, yet who is going to bring up their race? instead it will be tied to their mental illness and that is justifiable. Now, back to the article, my heart goes out to the victim’s family & this is a wake up call to help save children from toxic environments REGARDLESS of race. Let’s all do our part to make this world a better place instead of perpetuating nonsense from people who clearly have displaced anger.

    • Bruce

      By % black people are breaking the law, committing murder at an alarming rate, much higher than any other race, is it whiteys fault ? Black on black crime is a cancer that keeps growing. You are making it sound as if blacks rarely murder. These thugs are raised by thugs off the backs of people who are trying to make a living. Every house in inner city used to be nice, a working mans house. Look at them now, piles of crap needing some gas and a zippo, is this whiteys fault ? Blacks were brought up to hate whites, their drugged mom too lazy to work an honest job, thug BF’s doing same thing. If white were brought up to hate blacks it’s called racism, blacks do it it’s ok , a racism double standard with whites being the real victims here. I know hard working blacks and they are good people, just wish they weren’t the exception

        • tami

          Yeah, no name, I wonder why..Well, listen Mr. No Name, we whites have ACKNOWLEDGED what our ancestors did was wrong. But get it through your ridiculously THICK SKULL, that not all whites had slave owner ancestors and the whites TODAY had NOTHING to do with ANY of the atrocities you have listed. And can you explain this:
          Black People Enslaved White People
          Sick of liberals trying to make you feel guilty about slavery? All you need to do is remind them of a few historical points:
          All races kept slaves all throughout history.
          Most of the American slaveships and American slave-markets were run by Jews. But no one blames modern Jews. Because if anyone today says anything was “run by Jews”, they’re immediately dismissed as a crazy anti-Semite, regardless of whether or not it’s true.
          When the Trans-Atlantic slaveships docked at African slave-markets to buy slaves, they bought slaves who were already slaves. It was **Arab Muslims and Black Africans** themselves who captured members of rival tribes and took them to the coastal slave-markets to sell to the Whites and Jews. White people didn’t go into Africa and kidnap free black people. They barely needed to get off their ships to buy slaves, it was like buying McDonalds at a drive-through. The slaves were already at the slave-market in chains, ready to go.
          In the 16th – 18th century, Africans enslaved 1.5 million White Europeans in the Barbary Slave Trade. African Muslims raided up the coastlines of Europe, particularly the British Isles but even as far as Iceland, kidnapping and enslaving White European Christians. The men were galley slaves, and the women were sex slaves. This was more brutal than working on a plantation or as a domestic servant.
          Native Americans and Jews owned Black slaves too, but no one seems to assign a collective guilt to modern Native Americans and Jews for their slavery. In fact, Jews were the biggest slave-owners in America per capita.
          **Whites were the first people to stop slavery in modern times, whereas slavery still continues in Africa to this day.** In Mauritania slavery was only made a punishable offense in 2007!
          **Less than 2% of Whites in America ever owned slaves***
          Only 5% of the black slaves transported across the Atlantic actually went to the modern U.S. Most in fact went to Latin America to serve Hispanic slave-owners. But we don’t look at modern Hispanics as evil slave-owners.
          White people were responsible for slavery in the same way that someone who smoked Pall Mall cigarettes for a few years is responsible for the entire tobacco industry. Yes the Pall Mall smoker bought Pall Mall cigarettes from a shop at the end of the process, but they didn’t grow all the tobacco, harvest it, roll the cigarettes and distribute them to the shops.
          Yes, now, how about that white history month where we can explain this to our children.
          By the way, my grandfather on my fathers side was a FULL BLOODED CREE, my grandmother, French, and my grandmother on my mothers side was a full blooded CHEROKEE who married an IRISHMAN. My grandparents NEVER blamed the whites OF TODAY for what happened way back then. And you conveniently forget that it was white people that put THEIR lives on the line helping slaves escape via the underground railroad and more died during the civil rights movement. That you all blame US for YOUR failures since then, is completely stupid and onle serves to show how IGNORANT you really are.

    • tami

      “The interesting thing is that, every time someone black does something wrong or breaks the law, somehow that one black person is tied to all black people in America. When a white person does a bad thing, it’s just an isolated incident.” Seriously? Give me an example of this please..If you have no example to give, please go away…

    • Bruce

      It’s funny how blacks try to bring other races to their side. Your alone, Asians , Mexicans, Indians , are not on your side. They all work for a living. Also last I knew blacks were part of America also, why keep trying to bring it down and not work toward future ? Oh that’s right you can’t because of the white man but every other race can

      • Phoebe

        History Facts: Blacks as you call us are African Americans. We have been working before slavery, during slavery and after slavery. It’s a known that whenever African Americans are successful at our work, some of the white people get jealous and afraid that we will keep on succeeding and become widespread, so you kill us and bombed us out. African Americans are like endangered species, our accomplishments in the past, present and future is a threat to some white people. We worked and succeeded and you kill us and bomb us out, so what do some of you want of us. We did hard labor under terrible conditions on the cotton fields, cooking and cleaning in your homes, caring for your children, yet you paid us very little or nothing, you refuse let us vote, go to school to get an education, housing were deplorable, no medical and the list goes on…There is good and bad in ALL Nationality…. Back to the MAIN TOPIC, my deepest condolences go out to the family of Conner Verkerke, may he R.I.P. no child should have to suffer such death on a playground. Jamarion and his other siblings should have been removed from Anita Lawhorn’s home a long time ago, she and her boyfriend should be the one on trial. What a tragedy!!! While he is locked up Authorities, please gave Jamarion therapy constantly, because he needs it, and I hope that they have Chaplain Service in there, because he needs God Almighty in Heaven to deliver him from that state of mind.

  • Teresa Michelle Landreth

    yeah i see a lot of hateful comments about it being raced based. there is NOTHING in this article saying it was racially biased. the kid was abused, physically and possibly WORSE, and wanted to kill himself and someone else (most likely a substitute for his parents who he would have NO way of actually killing) so please tell me where in gods green earth all this right wing racial bs is coming from?