Funeral held for slain W. Mich. boy

CALEDONIA, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Family and friends came together Wednesday to say good-bye to a little boy killed on a West Michigan playground.

Police say 9-year-old Connor Verkerke was stabbed repeatedly by 12-year-old Jamarian Lawhorn last week at Pinebrook Village Mobile Home Park in Kentwood.

Lawhorn is now being charged as an adult in the juvenile system.

Family and friends took turns sharing stories about Connor Wednesday; they talked about his optimism, his smile, and his infectious laugh, and in those times, the family says they can begin to heal.

As they told stories Wednesday about a fun-loving 9-year-old with his whole life ahead of him, Connor's family says he was quick to make friends.

In fact, his Godmother says that's what he was doing the day he was killed.

During the funeral, Connor's other Godmother spoke of Connor's last words to his brother who carried him from the playground after he was stabbed.

"He told Kameron, 'Look at me; if I die, this is not your fault. I love you.'" she said.

While sadness fills the family's hearts, Connor's grandmother says there's anger too.

"We're not angry with Jamarion's mom and dad," she said. "More anger with Jamarion; in a way, we feel bad for him, and we do hope that he gets whatever help that is available that he could get, but angry that he chose Connor."

As Connor's mother stood before the crowd Wednesday, she read only a poem to say goodbye.

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die.

Connor's grandfather spoke Wednesday as well.

He took the opportunity to thank the trauma team at Spectrum, who tried to save Connor's life, saying they worked for an hour and a half, and did everything they could.