GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A published report on MLive.com on August 26th, 2014, details the alleged child abuse that 12-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn endured at the hands of his mother and step father prior to killing 9 year old Conner Verkerke.
Investigators say that Lawhorn attacked Verkerke with a steak knife near the playground at Pinebrook Village Mobile Home Park on August 4th, 2014.
Michael Conner Verkerke (Conner) was repeatedly stabbed in the back by Jamarion Lawhorn at the playground, then ran screaming to his home where he collapsed bleeding on his porch while his mother watched in horror waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Verkerke was eventually transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Jamarion Lawhorn has pleaded not guilty to an adult charge of murder in juvenile court. He is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
Many readers expressed concern and outrage and had wondered what would cause a child to attack another child in such a violent manner at the time of the incident. New details are emerging about what investigators found immediately following the stabbing death of Conner.
Authorities found bruises all over Jamarion’s body once they took him into custody. In recent court filings documents describe the boy’s injuries, “deplorable” living conditions and drug use by his mother and stepfather. All of this while there was a $3,000 income in the home.
Anita Lawhorn and stepfather, Bernard Harrold have proceedings taking place against them to have their parental rights terminated for 3 of Jamarion’s siblings. Child protective services workers had “substantiated” physical abuse by the mother and stepfather last year.
Anita Lawhorn surrendered parental rights to two other children in 1996 in Monroe County, New York. Her daughters 2 years old and the other 3 years old were removed from her home based on “severe physical abuse”.
Anita Lawhorn and Harrold told investigators they both have mental health issues but have not been taking prescribed medication. She said she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He said he has PTSD and anxiety.
Both tested positive for cocaine.
Society once again gets to try and upright not just one but several children’s lives because two people like Anita Lawhorn and Bernard Harrold were allowed to be chronic drug and child abusers. Something is seriously ungodly wrong with our societal support systems and family law and it needs to change.