Mom who abused child killer jailed for drinking

Anita Lawhorn in a Kent County courtroom on Oct. 21, 2015.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The mother of Jamarion Lawhorn, Kent County’s youngest killer, was ordered locked up Wednesday after tests show she had been drinking, including on the first day of her child abuse trial.

Anita Lawhorn had been free on bond since a jury last month convicted her of abusing Jamarion. The alcohol violated a condition of her bond.

Her probation officer said she has tested positive for alcohol three times — first in April, then again on Sept. 16, the first day of her trial.

“I apologized for the last time. I’m so sorry for that. It was a stupid decision,” Lawhorn told Kent County Circuit Judge Paul Sullivan on Wednesday. “But as of today I have not used any alcohol.”

Lawhorn said she drank before her trial because she was scared.

Her probation officer said a test that day showed a small amount of alcohol.

“She did admit that she was using,” the probation officer said. “She was nervous about trial and that’s why, to calm her nerves.”

The jury later found her guilty of abusing Jamarion, who was 12 when he fatally stabbed 9-year-old Connor Verkerke on a Kentwood playground last year.

She was released on bond pending her Nov. 24 sentencing.

But on Oct. 14, she tested positive again for alcohol, though she denied drinking.

“I have really too much to lose,” she said. “I have too much to lose when I admitted the last incident. I’m not trying to lose my kids. I’m not trying to revoke my bond.”

Her attorney, Jeffrey Crampton, argued the last test was a false positive after she took prescription cough syrup for bronchitis.

Crampton said he doesn’t know what will happen to Lawhorn’s three other children, who range in age from 4 to 15. They were taken away after Jamarion’s arrest, then later returned to her and Jamarion’s stepfather, Bernard Harrold.

Records show the state wants to keep the family together.

Harrold also is awaiting sentencing on Nov. 24 for abusing Jamarion.

Jamarion is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 4 after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder.

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