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Family questions privileges of juvenile accused in murder

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




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.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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(746 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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(1824 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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 5 years, 5 months ago


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

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5imwildflower(15 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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 5 years, 5 months 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 5 years, 5 months 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 5 years, 5 months 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 5 years, 5 months 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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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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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11seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months 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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12seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months 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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