12-Year-Old Boy Who Will Be Tried As An Adult For Stabbing 9-Year-Old On Playground Was Abused By His Parents

August 27, 2014  |  

We told you earlier this month about a 12-year-old boy named Jamarion Lawhorn. He stabbed a 9-year-old named Michael
Connor Verkerke to death on a playground in Grand Rapids and is being charged as an adult for his crime. He called the police and reportedly told them, “I just stabbed someone. Come and get me. I want to die.” Well, according to an NBC affiliate in Grand Rapids, a big reason Lawhorn may have acted violently and stabbed Verkerke, whom he had never met before, could be because he had been a victim of abuse at the hands of his own mother and stepfather.

According to reports, the state found that Lawhorn lived in “deplorable” conditions in the home of his mother, Anita Lawhorn, including a residence with no working utilities and little food in the refrigerator. Worst of all, cocaine paraphernalia had been found in the home as well.

When Jamarion was arrested, he was found with large bruises, which he said came from his stepfather. And Anita has a long history of recorded abuse against her children. Back in ’96 she gave up custody of two young daughters, a 1-year-old found with multiple broken bones, and a 3-year-old with cigarette burns on her chest. She also voluntarily gave up two other children in 1999, and admitted recently that she and her husband threatened Jamarion with a “whoopin'” daily to keep him in order.

It’s reported that a year before Jamarion stabbed Verkerke, Michigan Child Protective Services came after Anita with claims of abuse against him. However, the couple weren’t charged with child abuse, and were instead made to take parenting classes. Around that time, Jamarion went to live with his father, Lonnell Washington Sr., in New York. But Washington reportedly claimed that when the boy went back home to visit his mother in Michigan for a week, she refused to send him back. Washington gave up on trying to do anything about that it seems…

After Jamarion stabbed Verkerke, the state temporarily removed the three remaining children in Anita’s custody, who range in age from two to 14. They petitioned last week to remove parental rights to those three kids and Jamarion. So if you’ve been counting, Anita has lost a total of eight children.

As for Jamarion, he remains locked up and will still face charges as an adult for open murder. If you’ll recall, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Laura Clifton explained why he was facing those charges:

“This charging route was taken because if a juvenile is charged as a juvenile in juvenile court, the judge would have no option but to discharge at the age of 21.

With a “blended sentence,” he would face more time once he becomes an actual adult.

“For example, a juvenile can have a juvenile disposition, the term used for a juvenile sentence, but also have an adult sentence that is delayed — basically held in abeyance.”

Verkerke’s grandfather feels as though Anita and her husband should face some sort of consequences in the death of the 9-year-old, and for their treatment of Jamarion. He says that had they been better parents, Connor might still be alive.

“You can’t be mad at that child, the 12-year-old…I don’t know what you do with them. Could sue them I guess, but that won’t change anything.”


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