Excessive Heat Warning Issued for West Michigan

Youngest convicted killer in Kent Co. sentenced to youth home

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Jamarion Lawhorn, who was convicted of killing a nine-year-old boy on a Kentwood playground when he was only 12, has been sentenced.

The judge sentenced Lawhorn to detention at the Muskegon River Youth Home until a determination as to what type of sentence he should serve as an adult.  Lawhorn is currently 13 years old and that determination would come in eight years when he turns 21 or sooner, if someone requests it.  The sentence is considered a "blended sentence."  Lawhorn could still then be sentenced to life in prison.

Connor Verkerke was killed in July of 2014.  Lawhorn was convicted in September as an adult.

Connor's parents and brother all spoke before the court.  Connor's father said that "he's a shell of what I once was." Connor's brother Kameron said, "Jamarion lied and killed my brother...I will miss him forever."

Lawhorn's attorney called the whole case a catastrophic result of abuse.  A pastor who has been meeting with Jamarion sent a letter saying that sending Jamarion away for life in prison, wouldn't serve the community or Jamarion.

Jamarion also addressed the Verkerke family saying he was sorry for all the pain he had caused and that he doesn't know why he did it.

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    • Ella

      Wow. This is a testament of what is wrong with society. We banish a child to a lifetime of prison rather than looking at how to rehabilitate him and address the trauma that led to his actions. His brain isn’t even fully developed and you want to spend his entire life behind bars. That does nothing for our society including wasting tax payers money. No wonder why the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world when your perception is that way.

        • Antonella

          I understand where you’re coming from on that statement. I am not 100% against him being imprisoned for life depending on the circumstances. The way the above commenter presented himself, he would rather not even give this little boy a chance to receive treatment that led to these terrible actions. We are so often quick to judge people harshly and severely persecute them to the highest extent. He is a product of his environment. It does not make his actions okay, but he is still a little boy with massive amounts of trauma, an underdeveloped brain, and immature. Throwing the book at him and calling him a monster is uncalled for.

  • Femur

    This is a little boy that came from an awful home. DCS was aware of the situation and yet did nothing. If he had been given the care he needed much sooner this would not have happened as he would have been removed, yet now we want him to pay the full price. He is a victim too. A sad thing all the way around.

  • Joe

    He killed someone, he should stay in prison for his entire life. It is unfair to put blame on his parents and their abuse or mental illness. Sure you can help him and rehabilitate him, but he needs to stay in prison for the reminder of his life. TO allow any other treatment is unfair to the person who was murdered by his hand.

  • Fubar

    One less dirtbag on the streets, keep this little freak locked up forever, don’t care how old he is, he’s a worthless dirtbag who should not have freedom ever

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