12-year-old charged in fatal playground stabbing

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

KENTWOOD, Mich. A neighbor in a Michigan mobile home park says she thought a group of children were just playing before she heard the screams of a 9-year-old after he was repeatedly stabbed in the back.

A 12-year-old boy is now facing a murder charge.

Barb Poelman says she usually hears laughter from the playground at Pinebrook Village in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. Witnesses and authorities say Michael Conner Verkerke ran screaming to his home and collapsed bleeding on his porch before dying at a hospital.

Another neighbor says the 12-year-old boy used his phone to calmly call 911 and turn himself in. A not guilty plea was entered Tuesday at the boy's arraignment in juvenile court.

Residents and strangers gathered near the playground Tuesday night to hold a vigil and pray.


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