A 13yr Old Boy Stabbed A Nine Year Old To Death, And His Sentencing Just…

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In Michigan, a twelve-year-old boy has become the youngest person in the state to be convicted of murder. Jamarion Lawhorn stabbed nine-year-old Connor Verkerke to death on a Kentwood, Michigan playground in August 2014.

Lawhorn had planned the murder-suicide scheme in the hopes that he would be convicted and executed, ending his life of emotional suffering. The jury, made up of seven men and five women, deliberated for only four hours before finding Lawhorn guilty. During the trial, the jury heard from Connor’s younger brother, who witnessed the attack, and Connor’s parents, who saw their son die on their front porch awaiting an ambulance.

Prosecutors played the 911 recording in which Lawhorn demanded that the police arrest him and give him the electric chair. Two certified forensic psychiatrists gave differing opinions on whether or not he understood what he did was wrong and was in control of his actions. Lawhorn’s defense attorney argued that the boy had been the subject of ongoing and regular abuse by his parents right up to the day of the attack. He also argued that Lawhorn had been failed by every adult in his life, including his parents, Child Protective Services, and his school. Boekeloo also pointed out that Lawhorn was under the influence of stolen medications at the time of the attack.

During the closing statements, Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Bramble reminded the jury that Lawhorn admitted to planning the attack for a year and even removed his shirt before stabbing Verkerke to avoid getting blood on it. Bramble argued, “He set out to kill someone and he did it. Take the emotion out of it.” Boekeloo, in his closing statements, argued that the standards being used by the prosecution could hold even a three-year-old responsible for a capital crime.

This case highlights the difficulties the legal system faces when dealing with young offenders. Until the mid-1990s, most states could only prosecute minors as juveniles, with different standards and punitive options than adults. However, during the Clinton Administration, many states sought to “get tough” on crime and created new laws that allowed children as young as ten years old to be tried as adults.

The Lawhorn case raises the question of whether children should be treated as adults in the criminal justice system. While some may argue that there are circumstances where such a course of action may be necessary, others believe that children are not fully developed, emotionally or cognitively, and therefore should not be held to the same standards as adults.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue, it is clear that the Lawhorn case is a tragedy that underscores the importance of addressing mental health issues in young people and providing them with the resources they need to cope with their struggles. It is also a reminder of the need for society to work to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the first place.

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Source: AWM