A year after 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn executed a bizarre suicide scheme where he would kill another child so that he would be executed for the slaying, a jury has found him guilty of murder.
At 13, the boy will be the youngest convicted murderer in West Michigan.
After more than four hours of deliberation Friday, Sept. 4, the jury comprised of seven men and five women found Jamarion guilty of first-degree murder in the Aug. 4, 2014, stabbing death of 9-year-old Connor Verkerke as they played on a Kentwood playground.
Over the course of three days, the jurors heard from Connor’s little brother, who said he watched his brother get stabbed and helped get him home as the dying boy said he loved him and it was not his fault.
The jury heard from Connor’s mother and father who watched their son bleed to death on their porch from the two stab wounds to his lungs as they waited for emergency services to arrive.
The prosecution played the recording of the 911 call made by Jamarion after the stabbing where he defiantly demands that police immediately come and arrest him and give him the electric chair.
The boy would tell police that over the course of a year he came up with a suicide plan where he would kill someone and then get the death penalty as a result.
Jurors heard from two state-certified forensic psychiatrists who gave opposite opinions as to whether the 12-year-old boy understood what he did was wrong and was able to control his actions.
Defense attorney Charles Boekeloo said, contrary to what the boy’s parents claimed on the stand, Jamarion was subject to abuse right up to the time of the stabbing.
Boekeloo said using the standard applied by the prosecution’s expert that even a 3-year-old could be held responsible for murder.
Boekeloo argued that his client had been failed by every adult that was supposed to protect him, including his parents, his school and Child Protective Services.
Boekeloo also said Jamarion was medicated with stolen prescription drugs at the time of the slaying
Assistant Kent County Prosecutor reminded the jury of Jamrion’s own confession that he planned the killing for a year, that he was clear about his intent and direct in his actions.
Right down to taking his shirt off before the stabbing so that he would not get blood on it, Jamarion knew what he was doing, Bramble said.
“He set out to kill someone and he did it,” Bramble said. “Take the emotion out of it.”
Bramble said many children are abused and do not kill someone. They do not get a free pass to kill someone to draw attention to their plight.
Sources: America Now