13-year-old black boy found guilty of first-degree murder of 9-year-old white boy

In a case that has received remarkably little national attention, 13-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn has been found guilty of first degree murder (by stabbing, on a playground) of 9 year old Connor Verkerke in a Kent County (Grand Rapids) Michigan trial. The relative inattention to the case may have something to do with the respective races of the perpetrator (black) and victim (white). Imagine if a white boy had stabbed to death a younger black boy. Do you think for a moment that there would not be an outcry about the pervasive racism that induced a youngster to brutally, and with forethought, murder a younger child?

The account of the trial and verdict in the Detroit Free Press leaves motivations obscure.

Jurors have found Jamarion Lawhorn, 13, guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a younger boy at a Kentwood playground last August.

The verdict was delivered Friday afternoon in Kent County Circuit Court.

Lawhorn was charged as an adult. He's been held at Kent County's juvenile detention facility since his arrest last August.

A Kent County judge this summer ruled that Lawhorn was competent to assist in his own defense for the slaying of Connor Verkerke at the Pinewood Village mobile home park.

In fact, a Google search reveals only 4 news stories on the shocking verdict, all of them local Michigan media, and none of them touching upon the racial contrast between perp and victim.

An earlier account of the trial by Channel 13 in Grand Rapids makes clear the brutality of the murder:

Lawhorn is on trial for felony murder in the Aug. 4, 2014 stabbing death of nine-year-old Connor Verkerke at a Kentwood playground. The boy was stabbed five times in the back and once in the arm with a kitchen knife hidden in the playground sandbox, according to testimony. (snip)

Forensic pathologist Dr. David Start said Connor Verkerke was stabbed six times; two of the wounds would have been fatal by themselves.

Each penetrated three inches into his upper right back and into the right lung, causing fatal bleeding. "Either of those wounds would have been fatal and associated with significant bleeding,'' he testified.

Now, it may well be that Lawhorn was simply mentally disturbed and angry, for he was reportedly severely abused by his mother and stepfather:

Squalid living conditions, healed-over wounds and a preoccupation with self-harm – including placing his head in a toilet, are among myriad red flags indicating the troubled childhood of Jamarion Lawhorn. (snip)

Police searching Lawhorn's home encountered conditions described as deplorable, Kentwood Police Detective Amol Huprikar said.

Cans and bottles were strewn about, attracting flies. Mice droppings were prevalent, he testified. Drywall was falling in a bathroom and wall sockets were in disrepair, Huprikar testified. (snip)

Lawhorn's stepfather "treated me like a slave,'' he told Dr. N. Debra Simms, who works for the Center for Child Protection at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

"He would get hit if he didn't clean-up, do the dishes of fill the ice tray,'' Sims testified, recalling a September, 2014 interview with Lawhorn. "He spent a lot of time being afraid.''

Marks on his legs were caused by beatings with an extension cord by his stepfather, his mother whipped him with a belt and his grandmother hit him with a sandal, the boy disclosed to Sims, she testified.

"His mother stated that Jamarion had scars on the back of his legs from a 'whuppin' and stated this wuppin' was a mistake and repeated concerns about Jamarion being bullied at school,'' Sims told the court.

Marks on his legs and back are consistent with repetitive beating, while permanent scars indicate "repetitive pattern injuries,'' consistent with being struck with an extension cord, she testified.

But the question remains: why did Lawhorn choose the victim he selected? Was he influenced by the racial rhetoric that was pervasively present on August 15, 2014, the day of the murder? That was only five days after the shooting in Ferguson, MO that sparked national outrage and violence on the false premise of a young black man gunned down while his hands were up.

It is only speculation, but I believe that were the races reversed, and a white 13 year old convicted of brutally murdering a black 9 year old, we would be seeing a massive amount of attention to the case, and the familiar accusations of racism as the root of the crime.

Hat tip: David Paulin

In a case that has received remarkably little national attention, 13-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn has been found guilty of first degree murder (by stabbing, on a playground) of 9 year old Connor Verkerke in a Kent County (Grand Rapids) Michigan trial. The relative inattention to the case may have something to do with the respective races of the perpetrator (black) and victim (white). Imagine if a white boy had stabbed to death a younger black boy. Do you think for a moment that there would not be an outcry about the pervasive racism that induced a youngster to brutally, and with forethought, murder a younger child?

The account of the trial and verdict in the Detroit Free Press leaves motivations obscure.

Jurors have found Jamarion Lawhorn, 13, guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of a younger boy at a Kentwood playground last August.

The verdict was delivered Friday afternoon in Kent County Circuit Court.

Lawhorn was charged as an adult. He's been held at Kent County's juvenile detention facility since his arrest last August.

A Kent County judge this summer ruled that Lawhorn was competent to assist in his own defense for the slaying of Connor Verkerke at the Pinewood Village mobile home park.

In fact, a Google search reveals only 4 news stories on the shocking verdict, all of them local Michigan media, and none of them touching upon the racial contrast between perp and victim.

An earlier account of the trial by Channel 13 in Grand Rapids makes clear the brutality of the murder:

Lawhorn is on trial for felony murder in the Aug. 4, 2014 stabbing death of nine-year-old Connor Verkerke at a Kentwood playground. The boy was stabbed five times in the back and once in the arm with a kitchen knife hidden in the playground sandbox, according to testimony. (snip)

Forensic pathologist Dr. David Start said Connor Verkerke was stabbed six times; two of the wounds would have been fatal by themselves.

Each penetrated three inches into his upper right back and into the right lung, causing fatal bleeding. "Either of those wounds would have been fatal and associated with significant bleeding,'' he testified.

Now, it may well be that Lawhorn was simply mentally disturbed and angry, for he was reportedly severely abused by his mother and stepfather:

Squalid living conditions, healed-over wounds and a preoccupation with self-harm – including placing his head in a toilet, are among myriad red flags indicating the troubled childhood of Jamarion Lawhorn. (snip)

Police searching Lawhorn's home encountered conditions described as deplorable, Kentwood Police Detective Amol Huprikar said.

Cans and bottles were strewn about, attracting flies. Mice droppings were prevalent, he testified. Drywall was falling in a bathroom and wall sockets were in disrepair, Huprikar testified. (snip)

Lawhorn's stepfather "treated me like a slave,'' he told Dr. N. Debra Simms, who works for the Center for Child Protection at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

"He would get hit if he didn't clean-up, do the dishes of fill the ice tray,'' Sims testified, recalling a September, 2014 interview with Lawhorn. "He spent a lot of time being afraid.''

Marks on his legs were caused by beatings with an extension cord by his stepfather, his mother whipped him with a belt and his grandmother hit him with a sandal, the boy disclosed to Sims, she testified.

"His mother stated that Jamarion had scars on the back of his legs from a 'whuppin' and stated this wuppin' was a mistake and repeated concerns about Jamarion being bullied at school,'' Sims told the court.

Marks on his legs and back are consistent with repetitive beating, while permanent scars indicate "repetitive pattern injuries,'' consistent with being struck with an extension cord, she testified.

But the question remains: why did Lawhorn choose the victim he selected? Was he influenced by the racial rhetoric that was pervasively present on August 15, 2014, the day of the murder? That was only five days after the shooting in Ferguson, MO that sparked national outrage and violence on the false premise of a young black man gunned down while his hands were up.

It is only speculation, but I believe that were the races reversed, and a white 13 year old convicted of brutally murdering a black 9 year old, we would be seeing a massive amount of attention to the case, and the familiar accusations of racism as the root of the crime.

Hat tip: David Paulin