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Family questions privileges of juvenile accused in murder



Published: Sat, June 26, 2010 @ 12:09 a.m.

By MARY GRZEBIENIAK

news@vindy.com

NEW CASTLE, Pa.

A grieving family wants to know why their daughter’s accused killer is being housed in a facility where he has privileges he would not have if housed in the Lawrence County Jail.

Jack and Debbie Houk and several friends and family members addressed Lawrence County commissioners at their meeting this week, asking if commissioners could determine why 12-year-old Jordan Brown is not in the Lawrence County Jail and instead is being housed at the Edmond L. Thomas Juvenile Center in Erie at a cost of $239.34 per day. Jordan has been held there since March 1, 2009.

Brown is accused in the murder of the Houks’ daughter, Kenzie, 26, who was the girlfriend of Jordan’s father, Chris Brown. Houk, who was pregnant, was shot in the head as she lay in bed Feb. 20, 2009, at the Brown home. Jordan has been charged with two counts of homicide in the deaths.

County Controller Dave Gettings said after the meeting that Children and Youth Services is paying part of the cost of housing Jordan, and the county is paying the remainder. He said that in such a case, CYS usually pays 60 percent, but he said the breakdown will not be determined until an appeal is decided on whether Jordan will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Gettings, who also is prison board president, said he could not break down the cost of housing Jordan if he were to be placed in the county jail but pointed out the county charges the state $50 a day to house an inmate here.

Debbie Houk stated that Brown is housed in Erie among less-violent juvenile offenders “who wrote bad checks or stole a car.” She added that he gets privileges that would not be given in jail, such as playing checkers with staff members and being allowed to have face-to-face visits from his father six days per week.

“Why are we as taxpayers paying for this?” she asked.

Jack Houk said there are juveniles as young as 13 and 15 in the county jail here and noted that Jordan is almost 13. He and the others said they believe that since Judge Dominick Motto ruled Jordan is to be tried as an adult, he should be in an adult facility.

The decision to try Jordan as an adult is being appealed by his attorneys, Dennis Elisco and David Acker, who are trying to move the case to juvenile court.

Commissioner Steve Craig noted that the judiciary is independent and said: “We can’t issue any edict about operation of the court system. We only fund it.” Commissioners said that they will discuss the matter with their solicitor, Atty. Thomas Leslie, but could not promise action.


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

This young fellow would be full of hate if housed behind bars . Right now he is being treated with all of the compassion that $239.34 per day can buy . Eventually he will be released back into society so we want his stay to be a memorable one in a positive way .

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2palbubba(664 comments)posted 4 years ago

If convicted he should never be released back into society. Coddling criminals is a big part of our problem today. This case is typical the criminal gets preferencial treatment the victim is not considered by the system. The usual political joke is also found here, CYS is paying for part of the $239 per day. As though that is not tax payer money. It's just a different pocket to take our money from.

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3VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 4 years ago

Let's see...$239.34 per day times 30 days...that's $7,180.20 each month!

And since March 1, that's 4 months, or $28,720.80!

If he were to stay in this facility for an entire year the cost would be $86,162.40!!

You would think that would be enough money to pay for a couple of new patrolmen!

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4FormerYtowner(96 comments)posted 4 years ago

VINDYAK,

That is March 1, 2009.....so that's $7180.20 times 15 months or $107,703!!!!

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5imwildflower(15 comments)posted 4 years ago

I'm pretty sure that Stan's comment was dripping with sarcasm. Re: "we want his stay to be a memorable one in a positive way," I sure as heck HOPE that comment was sarcastic!

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61970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years ago

What he is accused of doing was a horrible crime. Maybe he a monster, I don't know. But he is 12 years old. That means he is in about 6th grade. Like it or not, eventually he is probably going to be free again, so rehabbing him as best as possible would be to our benefit. I sure would not trust him, though. Not ever.

I have not followed this case closely at all. Did he have a history of bad behavior? Or did he just up and kill that day w/o any warning signs ?

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7joesmoe(48 comments)posted 4 years ago

Everyone wants horrible treatment for criminals and people accused of crimes until it is one of their relatives or friends.

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8tominbrooklyn(34 comments)posted 4 years ago

I"m with "SoTired" on this one. Whoever gives a 12 year old a shot gun needs some responsibility in this as well.

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9Pams5000(4 comments)posted 4 years ago

I agree someone had to instruct him to kill her while she was sleeping. His accomplice knew he would be pampered, that is why they had him do it.They need to be held accountable.

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10Hillary(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

Jordan was 11 years old at the time he was "accused" of this crime. He is a child. The Houk's need to move on. No child belongs in an adult jail!!!!! Are they insane!!! The victim had two children, along with this little boy living in that home. She was aware of the gun in the home and she was the adult there. She supposedly was sleeping when they were getting themselves to school. According to past posts, she was in a battle with the father of her children, she was never married. Apparently there was DNA testing involved proving the x-lover was not the father of one of the children he was paying child support for for several years. If the victim was aware of this and lied to the father, what else was going on there? One would have to wonder if the parents were aware of this lie as well. The Houk's cannot keep from the limelight. Juvenile detention facilities are for juveniles, such as this young child. He has a right to a fair trial and they need to quit trying the public. Why was the x-lover lied to in the first place? Who was the birth father? How can anyone say for certain that this little boy was not a pawn to hide the identity of the birth father? Though the loss of the victim and her child is very sad, this does not mean she was an angel. She had a record herself. This boy is a victim himself in many, many, ways.

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years ago

DonJJ :

"Stan, I see that you have 4390 posts. I hope they all aren't as lame as your last one."

Thanks for the compliment Don . I have been studying sensitivity 101 . In the past I have been accused of being too harsh . You have shown that I have mellowed out .

This young fellow was just expressing his displeasure toward his Stepmother . The right of expression occurs in Youngstown very frequently . Times are changing and these expressionists have rights . Others are always pinned with the blame for what has transpired . To have it any other way would be . . .. well, politically incorrect . Killing for him was good but causing him any pain would be bad .

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12seminole(476 comments)posted 4 years ago

Stan...although I realize your sensitivity training has caused you to be "sympathetic" with the young lad in this story, I liked it better when you just dropped it out there and didn't "hide" behind your sarcasm, although this is fun as well. DonnJJ doesn't get it...this kid needs to be tried as an adult. ,,Hillary, check yourself on the Oprah crap. This kid calculated and did the deed, he should pay, regardless of what other Nancy Drew stuff you want to make seem important.

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13Hillary(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

Hillary,
It seems to me that if you are going to be charged so harshly, you should at least be old enough to know the laws. Did anyone ever think about the unfairness of charging a child who has absolutely no idea of what will happen to HIM if he were guilty? Oh, yea, Oprah might be concerned about the little boy and his feelings (like me) and Nancy Drew might be concerned, and VERY RIGHTFULLY so, that you should consider EVERYONE involved in the situation before you charge an 11-year-old boy with a LIFE SENTENCE (like me) but the fact remains, that an 11 year-old has absolutely NO idea of what would transpire IF, IF, IF, he pulled the trigger. How fair is that? Did anyone ever consider how really absurd it is to assume a child has the forethought to understand the future?

When I was growing up a friend of mine planned to smoke a cigarette in a building full of supplies. He set out with a group to smoke a cigarette and burned the entire building down. Planning and THINKING things through are two different things at 11 years-old.

Y-town also has responsible adults that know that children live with ADULTS that do not act their age. This young woman was on her third child, never married, and in a battle with the father of one of her children, that was not his. This little boy stepped into an already troubled environment. He very well may be innocent.

Y-Town also expresses rational, logical, morally correct, fairness where children are concerned. Yes, the right of expression is very frequent here in Y-town. The taxpayers here realize that we have been paying for young woman with children for years but we do this with the understanding that we all need to be compassionate towards those that are in need. We also realize that 11 year-old children may require some of tax money to keep them from being in an inhumane situation, like the Houk's want for this child.

One more thing, this child is always going to age. Whether he is 13 or 20, the Houk's need to understand he was 11 year-old when he was ACCUSED of this crime. This will never change.

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14Hillary(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

I guess some people misinterpreted where I was coming from. I'd like to be very clear.. I believe in rehabilitation. I believe in humane treatment of children AT ALL TIMES. I believe there are a lot of adults today that think of themselves and put themselves before their children. I believe in the gray area. I've learned many circumstances in life are not black and white. Though it would be easier if it was. I am sorry if I gave the impression that I do not feel compassion for the victims, I do, but I believe this little boy is innocent in more ways that you CHOOSE to understand.
I get seminole as well. He see's black and white.

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15seminole(476 comments)posted 4 years ago

DonJJ, welcome to the club! Hillary, you are correct in how I see it. We are at a point in society where is has to be black and white. It's been too fuzzy for far too long and now here we are. I get what you are tossing out but there has to be a pint when we say these kids actually DO understand and should be held responsible.

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16Hillary(43 comments)posted 4 years ago

DonJJ...
If your not part of the solution, your part of the problem. More than half the prison population is there due to mental illness, drug and alcohol dependency, and because they are disadvantaged monetarily. The drug court we have here in Youngstown was one of the wisest things started as it understands the underlying problem (dependency) and sought to solve that problem. In the long run, it is more humane and prevents future crime, as well as saves the tax-payers money. The Government still lags where mental health is concerned. Tax money would be better spend with mental institutions, rather than prison for many people. It would be focusing on the problem and therefore, deterring future crime. Charging children as adults is not solving the problem and statistics prove this. Juvenile facilities are more humane, more logical, and deter crime because they focus on developing "right" thinking. It works because children this young have brains that are not fully developed, therefore they are more easily rehabilitated. Harsh charges on children is nothing more than a farce. Do you really think 11 year-old children are aware of what happened to this little boy? They are out playing baseball, x-box, and eating candy and ice-cream. They do not have the life experience to understand the future. This is a fact.

Furthermore, this boy may very well be innocent but that cannot be comprehended by people that choose to see only black and white. This case is very troubling because it does not add up. The circumstances surrounding this case leads to other possibilities. It appears to be a rush to judgment to me.

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