So Sad: One Child Dead, 12-Year-Old Suspect Will Be Tried As an Adult

Playmate killed
Suspect (inset) and victim, Michael Verkerke, on right

*In an EURThisNthat article yesterday, we learned the story of a 12-year-old boy who fatally stabbed Michael Verkerke, a 9-year-old kid he didn’t actually know, but had appeared to be playing with just moments before. Afterwards, authorities say the pre-teen had told them he had taken “too many pills” and that, “Nobody loves me.”  Today more information is revealed, along with news that makes an already sad situation, even sadder. The suspect will be tried as an adult.

According to the Detroit Free Press four children—including the young suspect—were playing at the Pinebrook Village mobile home park in Grand Rapids, Michigan when one of them pulled out a knife and allegedly stabbed Michael several times in the back. Most likely in shock, Michael ran home screaming then collapsed on the porch of his home; where his hysterical mother waited for paramedics to arrive.

“We were sitting on our deck,” said neighbor Barb Poelman, who witnessed the aftermath of the stabbing. “We heard the kids run across the front … screaming. He (Michael) ran with the kids that were with him. She (Michael’s mother) was screaming, ‘Where is the ambulance?’ while her boy was laying on the porch bleeding. The kids, I thought they were just playing,” Barb added.

Glenn Stacey, the resident who the young suspect borrowed a cellphone from, and, to Beck’s surprise, used it to call the cops said, “I gave him my phone, and I heard him tell the 911 operator, ‘I just stabbed someone. Come and get me. I want to die.’ It was just a sad situation. The only time he raised his voice was when the police came,” Glenn added.

Officers immediately went to help the victim when they arrived on the scene, but the 12-year-old tried to get their attention by reportedly yelling, “Hello. I’m right here. You’re going the wrong way.”

Officers took the preteen to a hospital to be evaluated. He was later transported to a juvenile detention center. Investigators are still searching for a motive for the crime. The child pleaded not guilty to the open murder charge being brought against him in court yesterday. He is currently being held without bond and will be tried for the crime in the same manner as an adult, says Assistant Kent County Prosecutor Laura Clifton.

“This charging route was taken because if a juvenile is charged as a juvenile in juvenile court, the judge would have no option but to discharge at the age of 21,” she said.

Because he has been charged with open murder, if he is convicted, he will be eligible for a blended sentence.

“For example, a juvenile can have a juvenile disposition, the term used for a juvenile sentence, but also have an adult sentence that is delayed — basically held in abeyance,” Laura explained.

Could this situation be any sadder?


One thought on “So Sad: One Child Dead, 12-Year-Old Suspect Will Be Tried As an Adult”

  1. I’m just speechless. Dum founded. There are no words to express what I’m feeling right now.

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