Jamarion’s parents charged with abuse

Anita Lawhorn at a custody hearing on Oct. 2, 2014.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County prosecutors have charged the parents of a 12-year-old murder suspect with felony child abuse.

Anita Lawhorn and her husband Bernard Harrold are both charged with third-degree child abuse, authorities say. They are accused of assaulting Lawhorn’s 12-year-old son Jamarion.

Court documents show Jamarion told a Children’s Protective Services caseworker that Harrold had whipped him with an extension cord on his legs, backside and back. He said that Harrold also sometimes punched him in the chest and stomach. Jamarion also said that his mother had recently whipped him with a belt on his backside and the back of his legs. The caseworker saw marks on the back of Jamarion’s legs, the documents say.

When the caseworker talked to Anita Lawhorn and Harrold, they admitted to whipping Jamarion, the court documents say.

Jamarion Lawhorn. (Undated courtesy photo)
(An undated courtesy photo of Jamarion.)

Jamarion was charged with murder after allegedly stabbing 9-year-old Connor Verkerke to death on a Kentwood playground in August. Jamarion allegedly admitted to the murder, saying he wanted to die and take someone with him.

Earlier this month, a judge declared Jamarion’s mother and stepfather unfit to have custody of their three other children.

The day after Connor’s death, police searching the family’s house found “deplorable” conditions, including little food, no sheets on the beds, no utilities, and cocaine in the bathroom. The three other children who had been living at the house were soon removed from Lawhorn and Harrold’s care.

This isn’t the first time Lawhorn and Harrold have been accused of abusing Jamarion. In 2013, the state substantiated allegations that Lawhorn and Harrold had abused the boy. He was removed from their care and sent to live with his father in New York state, but returned to Michigan in June for a family gathering and never went back to New York.

Lawhorn and Harrold are expected in a Kentwood courtroom Thursday for a preliminary hearing on the abuse charge. If convicted, they could each spend up to two years in prison.

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