The Michigan mother of 13-year-old Jamarion Lawhorn, who was convicted earlier this month in the stabbing death of a 9-year-old boy at a playground, has been found guilty of abusing her son.
Anita Lawhorn, 39, was found guilty of third-degree child abuse for hitting Jamarion with a belt in May 2013 and now faces up to two years in jail, reports The Daily Mail.
Anita is the third member of her household to be found guilty of a violent felony.
In August 2014, Jamarion, then 12, stabbed 9-year-old Connor Verkerke in the back at a neighborhood park, Opposing Views reported. He was tried as an adult and found guilty of first-degree murder.
When Jamarion called 911 after the stabbing, he said he wanted to die.
“Hi,” Jamarion said. “I just stabbed somebody. Please pick me up. I want to die. I don’t want to be on this Earth anymore.”
His defense argued he was trying to escape a home full of neglect and abuse from his parents.
During an interview conducted in March 2015 with Kentwood Detective Erin Kitchka, Jamarion refused to answer how he came to have scars on his legs that were allegedly left by his mother, WOOD TV reports.
“I don’t think it’s none of your business,” Jamarion told Kitchka. “I think you’re trying to get me to get my mom in trouble and she’s innocent. She don’t do nothing wrong. She’s just trying to be a mom.”
Jamarion did admit that his mother had hit him, and his brothers and sisters.
“My brothers and sisters, they used to get whuppings with a belt, but I used to get whuppings with an extension cord,” Jamarion said.
He said his mother had hit him with a belt, and his stepdad used the extension cord, but it “didn’t make no bruises on me.”
Jamarion saw the whippings as spankings, not beatings.
“He don’t like us playing with guns because he doesn’t want us to grow up to be a shooter, so he’d punch us in the chest,” Jamarion said.
Kitchka tried to press Jamarion for an answer about the scars on his legs but he refused.
“I’m done talking,” Jamarion said.
Anita did admit to hitting Jamarion with a belt twice. The first time was for stealing, and the second for forging his stepfather’s signature on a school paper.
“She stated that she was angry, her anger got ahold of her and that she used a lot of force,” Child Protective Services Investigator Paula Leonard testified at Anita’s hearing. "She was mad, that she had a lot of energy because of her anger. She was very upset with him."
Anita’s attorney argued it was Jamarion’s stepfather, Bernard Harrold, who had left the marks on the boy's legs with an extension cord. Harrold has pleaded guilty to abuse and admitted to beating Jamarion with a belt up to 15 times.
“I just lost it, I whooped him,” Harrold said. “I was always raised that a man raises young men. I did what my dad did.”
Both Anita and Harrold will be sentenced in October. Jamarion will be sentenced as a juvenile next month, and after he turns 21, re-sentenced as an adult.