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

Posted at 6:18 PM, Aug 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-31 17:34:40-04

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.