UPDATED: Child fatally stabbed at playground

Updated: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
UPDATED: Child fatally stabbed at playground story image

KENTWOOD, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - There has been a deadly stabbing involving two children in Kent County.

Kentwood police say it happened around 6:00 Monday night at a playground near the Pinewood Village Mobile Home Park near Madison Avenue.

Witnesses say that four children were playing on the playground when one of the kids, for an unknown reason, pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed one of the others.

The suspect was identified Tuesday afternoon as 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn.

The victim--identified as 9-year-old Michael Conner Verkeke--ran home and collapsed on the porch. He later died at the hospital.

An autopsy will be performed by the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Lawhorn reportedly left the playground and called police to turn himself in. He was taken to the hospital to be checked out and was then lodged at the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.

He was charged Tuesday with open murder as an adult in the Kent County juvenile system.

This means that while his trial will be conducted through the juvenile system, there will be flexibility regarding possible sentencing. He could be sentenced as a juvenile, as an adult or be given a ‘blended sentence’ where he would serve, if convicted, part of his time as a juvenile and part of his time as an adult.

Lawhorn is due back in court on August 13 for a preliminary hearing.

If anyone has additional information concerning this investigation, please contact Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345 or Detective Sergeant Jason Roelofs at the Kentwood Police Department Detective Bureau at (616) 656-6600.

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