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Judge orders mental exam for 12-year-old charged with murder in playground stabbing of boy, 9

A judge has ordered a mental competency exam for a 12-year-old boy charged with murder in the stabbing of a 9-year-old boy at a western Michigan playground.

Judge G. Patrick Hillary issued the order Monday at a hearing in Kent County Family Court. Also, defense lawyer Charles Boekeloo told Hillary that his client was waiving his right to a probable cause hearing, clearing the way for a trial.

Authorities say the 12-year-old confessed to stabbing Michael Connor Verkerke on Aug. 4 in Kentwood, near Grand Rapids.

The Associated Press isn't naming the 12-year-old because of his age. He's designated as an adult in the juvenile court system, meaning he'd be sentenced as a juvenile if convicted and then resentenced as an adult once he turns 21.

Michael's funeral is Wednesday.

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