- Associated Press - Monday, March 9, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - The mother and stepfather of a 12-year-old boy accused of murder in the Grand Rapids area are scheduled for trial March 23 on child abuse charges.

They’re accused of striking the boy with an extension cord, months before he was charged with killing a 9-year-old boy at a Kentwood playground. The Grand Rapids Press reports the mother says the stepfather abused him.

A psychiatric expert said last month the 12-year-old is incompetent to stand trial. The opinion from an expert hired by the boy’s defense attorney conflicts with a state expert’s finding. Michael Verkerke was killed in August at a playground in Kentwood.

The Associated Press isn’t naming the 12-year-old because of his age and isn’t naming the mother and stepfather to avoid identifying the boy.

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