Jurors hear 911 call by western Michigan boy charged with murder in stabbing of 9-year-old boy



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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — A 911 call from a boy charged in the slaying of a 9-year-old on a western Michigan playground was played during his murder trial Tuesday.

In it, the boy, who is now 13, is heard telling a dispatcher to send an officer and that he had "just stabbed someone." When asked who was stabbed, the boy replied: "I don't know, I'm fed up with life."

The recording followed testimony in Kent County Circuit Court from witnesses and Michael Connor Verkerke's mother and younger brother.

The victim, called "Connor" by his family, was stabbed to death Aug. 4, 2014, after falling off a slide in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids. The two boys didn't know each other before the younger boy was approached at the playground.

The Associated Press isn't naming the defendant because of his age. He was 12 at the time and 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.

Prosecutors said the older boy had planned to stab someone for a year and that he hid the kitchen knife used in the slaying in a sandbox and removed his own shirt to keep blood off it.

"He went looking for someone he didn't know, and that someone turned out to be Connor Verkerke," Kent County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Bramble said Tuesday. "His actions clearly show he understood the wrongfulness of his conduct. He knew to call police because he knew it was wrong."

But defense attorney Charles Boekeloo said in his opening statement that his client was the victim of physical abuse at home. "He had no choice," Boekeloo said. "This was his only way out."

Earlier Tuesday, Dani Verkerke had told the jury that her son introduced the older boy as his "new friend" the day of the stabbing.

The trial is expected to last through at least Thursday.

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