Defense expert: Lawhorn incompetent to stand trial

Jamarion Lawhorn in Kent County juvenile court. (Feb. 20, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – An expert hired by a 12-year-old murder suspect’s attorney found he is incompetent to stand trial which is in opposition to the state’s findings.

Jamarion Lawhorn, 12, is accused in the death of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke, who was stabbed on a Kentwood playground on Aug. 4. Lawhorn is being treated as an adult in juvenile court, he is the youngest person ever charged with murder in Kent County.

Connor Verkerke.
Connor Verkerke.

The defense expert’s psychological evaluation determined Lawhorn is incompetent to stand trial while the state expert’s found him competent.

Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Denenfeld will decide if Lawhorn is fit for trial after hearing from both experts at a hearing set for April 30.

According to court documents, Jamarion admitted to killing Verkerke because he wanted to die and take somebody with him.

If Lawhorm is found guilty, he could be held in a juvenile facility until he is 21, at which point a judge would determine whether to send him to prison. Due to his age, he is guaranteed a chance a parole.

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