Vigil held for 9-year-old boy killed at playground

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WZZM) -- Family, friends, and neighbors have gathered for a candlelight vigil remembering the 9-year-old boy stabbed to death at a playground Monday.

The vigil honoring Conner Verkerke is at the same playground where he was stabbed in the back repeatedly.

"This is Connor's park; let's take it back," said one of those who gathered at Pinebrook Village mobile home park Wednesday evening.

RELATED: Boy, 12, charged as adult in fatal stabbing of 9-year-old

Jamarion Lawhorn, who is accused of murdering Conner, is being charged as an adult. Lawhorn is 12 years old.

Tuesday afternoon, Lawhorn pleaded not guilty in Kent County Family Court, where his defense attorney asked for a competency evaluation to make sure the 12-year-old boy understands the case against him.

If convicted, Lawhorn will be held in a juvenile facility until he's 21. Although Lawhorn could be given an adult sentence, he will not receive a mandatory life sentence because of recent changes to a state law.

The motive in the attack is still under investigation according to Kentwood police.


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