Lawyer for mother of accused child killer says state may be to blame

Posted at 5:13 PM, Oct 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-23 20:39:46-04

KENTWOOD, MICH.-- It's a story that's tough to comprehend. A 12-year-old boy in Kentwood who allegedly stabbed a 9-year-old on a playground near his home.

Now the mother of Jamarion Lawhorn, the boy accused in this case, will face a jury on child abuse charges stemming from a separate investigation. Anita Lawhorn is charged with child abuse in the third and fourth degree as a result of an earlier, May 2013 investigation.

"She indicated to me that it was a regular practice for her to use a belt to give her children a whooping," said Michigan Child Protective Services worker, Paula Leonard. "However this time she went overboard and her anger got hold of her and she used too much force and caused injuries to Jamarion's butt and back of his legs."

But the May 2013 incident was never reporter to the Kentwood Police Department.

"We think CPS dropped the ball," said Anita Lawhorn's lawyer, Jeff Crampton. "DHS dropped the ball adn had they done that maybe we wouldn't be here and maybe Jamarion wouldn't be where he is either."

Doctor Debra Simms evaluated Jamarion Lawhorn after he was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center. It was there she says he told her his mother wasn't the only one beating him.

"Beat by a belt by his mother, extension cord by his step-dad and grandmother apparently hit him with a sandal. All of that history and his physical examination lead to a diagnosis of probable inflicted trauma and pediatric physical abuse," said Dr. Simms.

Jamarion's step-dather, Bernard Harrold, was also in court. He agreed to plead guilty to child abuse in the third degree. In exchange for that, a charge of child abuse in the fourth degree and a habitual offender charge were dropped.