GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A jury was selected Monday in the trial of a 13-year-old boy charged with fatally stabbing a 9-year-old boy at a western Michigan playground.
Twelve jurors and two alternates were chosen. Opening statements and evidence will be offered Tuesday in Kent County court in Grand Rapids.
The boy, who was 12 at the time, is charged with murder in the death of Michael Connor Verkerke a year ago in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. He is designated as an adult in the juvenile court system. That means he would be sentenced as a juvenile if convicted, then resentenced as an adult at age 21.
The Associated Press isn’t naming him because of his age. The boy’s mental health could be an issue at trial, although he was found competent to understand the charges against him and assist his lawyer.
There doesn’t appear to be a dispute over what happened. The two didn’t know each other before the younger boy was approached at the playground and stabbed after falling off a slide.
After the older boy’s arrest, records showed that he had been living in a volatile home that was described as “deplorable” by child welfare workers. After the stabbing, a neighbor told police that he said, “I want to die. I don’t want to be on this earth anymore.”