Defense expert: 12-year-old boy accused of killing 9-year-old at playground not fit for trial

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — A psychiatric expert says a 12-year-old boy is incompetent to face trial in the fatal stabbing of a 9-year-old boy at a western Michigan playground.

The opinion from an expert hired by the boy's defense attorney conflicts with a state expert's finding. The boy is charged with murder in the death of Michael Verkerke, who was killed in August at a playground in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday that a Kent County Circuit Court judge will hear attorneys' arguments during a hearing on April 30. The judge will then decide if the case goes to trial.

The Associated Press isn't naming the boy because of his age. His mother and step-father are facing child abuse charges, and his siblings have been removed from their home.

Information from: The Grand Rapids Press,

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