A 12-year-old boy has stabbed to death a 9-year-old boy at a playground in Kentwood, Michigan. The older boy pleaded not guilty to the act, despite turning himself in to the police.
Four kids were on the playground when the 12-year-old pulled a knife and stabbed the younger boy in the back.
Police has identified the boy as Jarmion Lawhorn, and he is set to be tried as an adult, local WoodTV reported.
"We heard the kids run across the front ... screaming. He [Michael Conner Verkerke] ran with the kids that were with him," witness Barb Poelman told AP.
The boy’s mother was pleading for the help, as she lay on the grass outside their house.
"She was screaming, ‘Where is the ambulance?’ while her boy was laying on the porch bleeding. The kids, I thought they were just playing," Poelman said.
The accused went up to a neighbor, Glen Stacy, after the stabbing and asked to use his phone, calling 911 to report the attack, Stacy told the local the Grand Rapids Press.
Stacy also phoned the security services, telling them the boy was “very calm.”
"The only time he raised his voice was when the police came," he said.
When police arrived at the scene, they first went to help the victim. However, Jarmion shouted to them, "'Hello, I'm right here. You're going the wrong way,'" according to Stacy.
Another neighbor and witness, Tiffany Armijo, said her son was playing with 9-year-old Michael before he was killed, and that she had never seen Lawhorn before.
She only added Michael was her son's best friend and "a good kid.”
"They always played together. He was at my house almost every day," Armijo said.
On Tuesday night, the local community gathered to collect donations for the family and to grieve.
Brianna Hoort, 7, who used to play with Michael, said she was “sad.”
Her mother Laurie Hoort said she wasn’t sure if Brianna really understood what happened at the playground.
“You just have to tell [her] he’s in a good home, he’s with God and in a better place,” said Laurie Hoort. “He’s playing on the swing sets up in Heaven.”
She added that the killing was a terrible shock to the “tight, very close community.”
“This one, we had no idea where this was coming from… Everybody’s looking out for everybody and for this to happen and nobody really… It caught everybody off-guard.”
The motive for the stabbing is currently being established. Lawhorn was detained for questioning, pleading not guilty to a murder charge, according to his lawyer, as cited by AP.
The lawyer also stated that he might seek psychological evaluation of his client to check if he can stand trial.