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August 06, 2014

Boy dies after playground stabbing by 12-year-old

The 12-year-old called 911 and calmly turned himself in after the boy ran home screaming and collapsed bleeding on his porch

By Corey Williams and Priya Sridhar
The Associated Press

KENTWOOD, Mich. — A 9-year-old boy repeatedly stabbed by a 12-year-old at a Michigan playground ran screaming to his home and collapsed bleeding on his porch before dying at a hospital a short time later, witnesses and police said Tuesday.

Witnesses said the 12-year-old boy went to a nearby home after the Monday evening attack on Michael Conner Verkerke, called 911 and calmly turned himself in, then tried to flag down officers when they arrived.

The 12-year-old pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in juvenile court Tuesday, according to his attorney. He was ordered held in a juvenile detention center until a hearing next week. A motive for the attack still was being investigated, Kentwood Police Chief Thomas Hillen said.

Barb Poelman told The Associated Press she was sitting on her deck in the Pinebrook Village mobile home park in the western Michigan city of Kentwood when "we heard the kids run across the front ... screaming. He (Michael) ran with the kids that were with him."

She said the boy's mother was distraught, pleading for help as she lay on the grass outside the family's home.

"She was screaming, 'Where is the ambulance?' while her boy was laying on the porch bleeding," Poelman said. "The kids, I thought they were just playing."

Witnesses told investigators that four children were playing when one of them, for unknown reasons, pulled a knife and stabbed the boy in the back.

Glen Stacy, who lives nearby, told The Grand Rapids Press that the older boy approached him after the attack and asked to use his phone. He said the boy called 911 to report the attack and turn himself in.

Stacy said he also called police and described the boy as "very calm."

"The only time he raised his voice was when the police came," Stacy said.

When police arrived at the mobile home park, they first went to aid the stabbing victim, but the older boy wanted the officers to pick him up and yelled, "'Hello, I'm right here. You're going the wrong way,'" Stacy said.

Tiffany Armijo said her son was playing with Michael before he was attacked and that she had never seen the 12-year-old before.

"He was playing with Michael and his brother, and my kid, too," she said, her voice breaking.

She declined to discuss any details about the attack, but said Michael was her son's best friend and "a good kid."

"They always played together. He was at my house almost every day," she said.

Poelman said the boy lived with his parents and two siblings in the mobile home park. A man who identified himself as Michael's grandfather when the AP called a phone number listed for his home declined to comment.

Police said the 12-year-old boy was evaluated at a hospital after the attack, then taken to the Kent County Juvenile Detention Center.

Defense attorney Charles Boekeloo said he entered a not-guilty plea for the boy during Tuesday's hearing, adding that he may seek a mental evaluation to determine if the boy is competent to stand trial.

The Associated Press is not naming the 12-year-old because of his age. He is designated as an adult in the juvenile court system, which would allow the boy, if convicted, to be sentenced as a juvenile and then as an adult once he turns 21, according to Chris Becker, chief assistant prosecutor for Kent County.

Associated PressCopyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 13.

Comments
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Drew Croy Drew Croy Wednesday, August 06, 2014 7:16:03 AM The why of this is pretty important. I can't for the life of me think of why this would happen.
Cher Kandra Smith Cher Kandra Smith Wednesday, August 06, 2014 10:28:48 AM Because kids nowadays are raised to not accept responsibility for their own actions. Parents do no discipline kids anymore for fear of being turned in for child abuse. People expect you to rationalize with a 2 yr old when they do something wrong, for God's sake. Smacking their hands and saying NO is no longer acceptable cause you will damage their little minds. When my kids did something wrong, they got their asses smacked and grounded. They now suffer from this deplorable condition known as RESPECT for others and accepting responsibility for their own actions. Not one of my kids is damaged and is psychiatric therapy from getting their asses busted, nor did anyone do anything like this. Each one served in the military and one is a firefighter. And ALL are successful young adults. Discipline your kids, people.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 2:26:31 PM uh.....he turned himself in, if that isn't taking responsibility then what is exactly? good speech but as a response to this article? it kind of gets downsized
Cher Kandra Smith Cher Kandra Smith Wednesday, August 06, 2014 2:55:19 PM Chase Doerscher He turned himself in.....but "The 12-year-old pleaded NOTguilty to a murder charge in juvenile court Tuesday, according to his attorney." So WHERE is the RESPONSIBILITY for what he did? Read it again.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:02:02 PM Cher Kandra Williams Smith ok what do you do? even EMT's know juveniles cant speak for themselves legally let alone in court. you are the one who needs to do some reading. this isn't about reading comprehension this is about knowing what you are talking about before you try to talk about it.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:06:30 PM besides if you actually saw between the lines the defense is clearly going for a not guilty due to mental issues.
Cher Kandra Smith Cher Kandra Smith Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:07:05 PM Chase Doerscher LOL.....wanna pull strings, little boy? I'm the mother of a Firefighter/EMT, mother of a Navy SeAL Commnications officer, and the mother of a cop. Try again? He could plead guilty through his attorney, which he DID NOT DO. Oh, and since you are interested in "what I do" so as to try and put me in my PLACE: I'm a Pediatric Nurse with a Bachelors degree, I also have a Masters degree in Bio/Chem with a minor in Forensics and Criminal Justice. NOW try putting me in my place. And in the state of OREGON, son, things are different here. Next argument.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:16:04 PM you're comparing Oregon law to Michigan law? really? LOL case closed. and insults make you weaker not stronger. I probably know 3 times more about law then you do from the looks of it, seeing how your playing the insult card AND the I have degrees card. you just lost the debate in one paragraph and your own at that. so im not even going to bother. this little boy is more mature then you and knows how to have an actual debate....you didn't even counter my argument you just gave me a description of yourself....that's sad.....try again?
Cher Kandra Smith Cher Kandra Smith Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:16:15 PM Chase Doerscher Of course they are going for the mental defense. Same as they did with Kip Kinkle. It's the way the law is practiced. He did it, something was wrong with him (not disciplined, abused, got his video games confused with real life, mommy or daddy didn't understand him enough, he got away with too much in his life) therefore it's not his fault. When you grow up, and you see what we have seen in this line of work, you come to realize that not taking blame is an excuse. When you come out of Technical school, and actually WORK in the field, your mind will change......about a LOT of stuff, and you begin to look at people differently. Until then, realize that people have been in the field longer than you've been alive and most seasoned EMT's/firefighters/police/nurses/ etc are all asking the same question: when is the damn madness going to stop and parents start taking responsibility for their kids and paying attention to them instead of letting them do what they want.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:26:07 PM Cher Kandra Williams Smith wow you are so full of yourself aren't you? saying "I'm better then you" makes you a sore loser not better then anything, that's a fact and if you even knew what I was talking about I wasn't saying the kid is mentally ill you came to that conclusion yourself I was saying going for the mental defense doesn't allow the defendant to speak for himself does it? hmm? don't insult me because I know how to think for a few minutes before I talk. seriously though, I only hope your sons are more mature then you, if you're going to act like this don't mention them. it doesn't make you look good and it doesn't make them look good either not with you acting like this
Cher Kandra Smith Cher Kandra Smith Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:34:53 PM Chase Doerscher I didn't say he was mentally ill....you just did. I said Mental defense. Look again. Try again. I grew up in Michigan. Detroit then Garden City/Westland. I KNOW Michigan law as well as Oregon. You insulted first by assuming you had more knowledge in an area than I do. You don't. And in Michigan, he CAN plead guilty. ANYONE on charges can, minor or not. They are going for the juvenile defense cause if he's charged as an adult, and they CAN do that, he could face longer in prison once he gets done in juvey. Read your law. MANY kids have been charged as young as 7 as an adult under murder charges. They are trying to save this child from going to long term prison. Mental defense is ONE of the tactics they use to try and keep him from the big house later on in life. Quit twisting my words around and making yourself look the victim. You won't last long in this line of work that way.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Wednesday, August 06, 2014 3:44:50 PM god, no jesus, I said, you said, I said he was mentally ill when I didn't and I still haven't, jesus. and yeah im familiar on how it works however all you did was say "im better then you" you didn't rebut my argument correctly once. and cute, you insulting me makes you the good guy. and no where did I twist your words, you just don't realize in context it is what you said. be immature all you want, don't insult me or what I want to do in MY life and dont twist MY words. seriously being condescending doesn't make you better. you say you're a nurse and I don't see very much professionalism, you should fix that. goodbye
Francis Michael Velasco Depalco Francis Michael Velasco Depalco Thursday, August 07, 2014 1:04:31 AM Chase Doerscher Dude, you're shallow.
Chase Doerscher Chase Doerscher Thursday, August 07, 2014 1:07:01 AM Francis Michael Velasco Depalco .....for?
Bryan G. Lee Bryan G. Lee Thursday, August 07, 2014 5:46:02 PM He pleaded no guilty so he gets a trial. If the attorney hadn't done that he would be incompetent
Isabel Archer Isabel Archer Thursday, August 07, 2014 9:59:23 PM This shows signs of a psychopath. How sad.
Cory R C Sheedy Cory R C Sheedy Friday, August 08, 2014 1:39:13 AM More like a sociopath.
Nelly Stipdonk Nelly Stipdonk Tuesday, September 16, 2014 7:18:17 AM call it what you want.. the future look grim for this young boy

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