A 13-year-old boy who is accused of fatally stabbing a 9-year-old on the playground in western Michigan has been found competent to stand trial for murder.
An expert hired by the defense had previously determined that the teen, who was just 12 when the alleged crime occurred last August, did not understand the charges against him in the death of young Michael Verkerke and thus was not competent to stand trial.
However, Judge Paul Denenfeld disagreed with that assessment, siding instead with the state expert’s finding, CBS News reports.
“While the defendant may not understand all the details of the process, that makes him no different from most Americans who gain their understanding of the criminal justice system from television and movies,” Denenfeld wrote in his opinion released this week.
“There is simply no persuasive argument that, based on the undisputed facts presented here, the defendant fails to ‘understand the nature and object of the proceedings,’ ” he continued.
The boy, who is not being identified because he is a minor, previously pleaded not guilty to murder.
According to court papers, the boy called 911 himself after the stabbing and waited for police to arrest him. He reportedly told authorities that he’s “bad and always does stupid things.”
A trial is slated to begin on July 15.
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