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Boy accused of killing dad’s fiancee to be tried as juvenile

Published: Wed, August 24, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.


Jordan Brown

By Mary Grzebieniak



A boy who was 11 when police say he murdered his father’s pregnant girlfriend will be tried as a juvenile and not as an adult.

Jordan Brown’s homicide case has been transferred to juvenile court on an order issued Tuesday by Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick Motto. The decision means that Jordan no longer faces the possibility of life in prison without parole, as he would if tried as an adult. In juvenile court, he faces incarceration only until he reaches age 21.

Jordan, now 14, was an 11-year-old fifth-grader when he was accused of the shotgun killing of his father’s fianc e, Kenzie Houk, and her unborn son in February 2009. His case had drawn worldwide interest and criticism because he could have been the youngest person in the nation and possibly the world to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Atty. David Acker, who is defending Jordan along with Atty. Dennis Elisco, said he was “much relieved and thankful” for Judge Motto’s decision. He also thanked the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, which filed an appellate brief on Jordan’s behalf as well as Amnesty International, which supported Jordan’s removal from the adult-criminal system and generated letters of support from all over the world.

Acker said Tuesday’s decision means Jordan’s case will be tried in a juvenile court hearing, which will be closed to the public. He said because of the seriousness of the case, the disposition will be made public, though most juvenile-case decisions are not. He expects the hearing to be scheduled “relatively quickly.”

In the meantime, Jordan remains in the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Detention Center in Erie where he has been since just after the murder.

After a March 2010 hearing, Motto had ruled that Jordan be tried as an adult. But he was overruled a year later by Pennsylvania Superior Court which took issue with Judge Motto’s reliance on Philadelphia psychologist and lawyer Dr. John O’Brien’s assertion that Jordan’s failure to admit guilt meant he was not amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile system. The Superior Court said this violated Jordan’s right against self- incrimination.

Judge Motto was then required to rule on the court record excluding Dr. O’Brien’s testimony. At a hearing to this effect last month, Deputy State Atty. General Anthony Krastek Jr., who was prosecuting the case, said he would not bring in another psychologist but would instead rest on the record.

In his decision, Judge Motto noted that Houk was “totally defenseless” at the time she was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of her head and that there “is no indication of any provocation by the victim that led to her killing.” He said there was a lack of evidence that anyone else entered the home at the time of the killing, as well as gunshot residue on Jordan’s shirt and a new spent shell outside the home.

Judge Motto commented, however, that with the exclusion of O’Brien’s testimony, which was “pivotal,” the opinion of the defense psychologist, Dr. Kirk Heilbrun, who said Jordan would respond well in a juvenile placement, is “on the present state of the record ... unchallenged by the Commonwealth.” He said that Jordan has no juvenile record, committed no violence during his stay at the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Center and that there are facilities in the juvenile system capable of dealing with juveniles who commit serious crimes.

The most critical factor, Judge Motto said, is “whether [Jordan] can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court jurisdiction.” He concluded that Jordan’s age “weighs in favor of the prospects of rehabilitation given that the Defendant was 11 years of age at the time of the offense and presently would be subject to juvenile court jurisdiction for an additional seven years.”


1lumper(301 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

when released, this kid needs to make friends with judge motto's kids/grandchildren.

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2Darjan10(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

The law is charged as an adult at 10 years of age and up. This law was made because inner city gangs were having 10 year olds drive with them to do a drive by or kill other gangs members. Who would you be more afraid of the 10 year old who is told when to shoot or the 11 year old who takes a gun shoots a defenseless pregnant lady and goes off to school as if everything is fine?

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3southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

WOW! It will be interesting to see what happens when this young man is released from juvenile dentention at age 21.

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4Enekuri(3 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

at southsidedave, we honestely hope he will be freed after the trial. After all Jordan Brown is innocent, why should an innocent child spend 10 year in jail for a crime he didn't commit while the real murder walks free?
at lumper, lumper the real murderer has been walking free for over 2 years and a half now, seems nobody is concerned about the security of people, who knows? maybe that person has already harmed another one, we don't know for sure, but why to investigate other possible suspects, when is more fun to put the blame on an innocent child?
At darjan, that law is quiet henious, why they didn't make a law who will give the death penalty to all those cowards who use children's to commit crimes?
Jordan didn't kill kenzie houk and her baby, but it seems like nobody cares about the truth. How sad:(
"I hear much of people calling to punish the guilty, but few are concerned to clear the innocent" Daniel Defoe 1661-1731

Don't you people think that it would be really horrible that an innocent child is placed in prison for a crime he did not commit and the real killer goes free so he can commit more crimes. Well, to be honest it wouldn't be the first time that happens actually.:(

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5Enekuri(3 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

please visit www.jordanbrowntrust.org

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6auntiem4cabs(115 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

BULL CRAP!! That kid is a classic sociopath!! http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html
He will be ruining the world the moment he steps out of detention. What a crock this is!! Another one, getting away with murder, and starting at such a young age.

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7Enekuri(3 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

commoncitizen, how are you so sure this kid is guilty, anyway? I don't know if this kid is guilty or innocent but I believe he is innocent. I don't believe the lies that the prosecution and the media had been telling about this boy. all this case screams corruption at the top of its lungs. The smell is so strong that I can smell it thi far away as from where it happened. .Is so evident that this kids is innocent, that I don't need more evidence that the reaction of a bunch of cowards trying to destroy the life of an innocent child. That link is NOT PROPAGANDA as you call it. Is facts, backed up with documents and evidence that you can see if you want in www.freejordanbrown.com you don't have to take my word for it but I'm sure you are a person who can think for himself/herself and make your own conclusions. And no commoncitizen, I'm not a part of this kids family and Yes I guess I can considere myself involved in this case since I've seen so many cowards jumping on destroying the life of an innocent child.
Because I wasn't in the scene of the crime I can not say what it happened so I won't jump on a rush to judgement and on this media circus, this travesty of justice, just because media, police and prosecutors say so.
And you know commoncitizen, If I would be the family of Kenzie houk, I would be really pi**ed off knowing that the real killer is walking free and an innocent child is in prison for a crime he did not commit. But I guess since the houks family is having this strange relationship with the likely killer of their daughter I'm not very sure about them anymore. Because you see even if they do NOT believe that that man(ex-boyfriend, who found out just a week prior to the murder to be ,more exactely the 13th of february, that kenzie's little girl wasn't his daugter) killed her daughter, still that man HAS 2 PFA orders who shows how he threatened the life of her daughter. But then again I'm not asking to take my word for it, but as you have a right to believe he is guilty (even if you are wrong) I got the same right to believe he is innocent.
"I hear much of people calling to punish the guilty, but few are concerned to clear the innocent" Daniel Defoe 1661-1731

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8EditorPYSIH(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Enekuri is one of a handful of deluded people who, along with the Brown family, choose to ignore the evidence against Jordan Brown. Instead the choose to believe some fantasy about Kenzie's ex-boyfriend committing the murder, despite the fact that police cleared the man the very first day of the investigation.

You see, it snowed lightly the night before the murder, leaving a coating of snow on the ground that morning. There were no footprints in that snow leading to the Brown house that could have been made by an intruder, and there were neither footprints leading to the ex's car, or tire tracks showing that the car had been driven since the night before.

Since Kenzie's murder had to happen between the time Chris Brown left for work and the workmen for her body later that morning, it's obvious to anyone with an open mind that the murderer was someone inside the Brown residence.

I could go on and on with the half truths and fabrications these folks use to throw unknowing public off the scent - there never seems to be a forum like this where one of them is around, spewing this garbage as "their right to their opinion" - but I'd like to think there isn't a layman around who knows this case better than I do, and I'd bet the house on Jordan Brown's guilt.

Judge Motto's ruling doesn't change that. Honestly, without any challenge to the defense's argument from the State, he was left with no choice but to rule the way he did. I haven't heard whether the State will appeal or not, but I hope they do.

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