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Woman interested in case of Jordan Brown



Published: Sun, July 24, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

photo

Jordan Brown

By Mary Grzebieniak

news@vindy.com

NEW CASTLE, Pa.

With only weeks remaining until Jordan Brown’s next court hearing, the message boards and Internet web pages are buzzing about the case that has drawn national and international interest.

Jordan, now 13, is accused of two counts of homicide in the February 2009 murder of his father’s fianc e, Kenzie Houk, and his unborn half-brother in the farmhouse where Jordan lived. The case has languished for over two years while courts struggle to determine what to do with the boy who would be the youngest in this country ever to be sentenced to the mandatory life in prison if he is tried and convicted as an adult.

One of many people who have taken an interest in the case is a 33-year-old New Hampshire mother of two who has spent many hours researching Jordan’s case since learning about it in January.

Melissa Higgins of Merrimack, has established a website with detailed information about the case, and it can be accessed at http://www.justice4juveniles.com or at http://www.freejordanbrown.com. The website lists a recap of the case as well as links to related articles, and a link to a Facebook member page about Jordan she has established.

There are also links to other websites that include commentary about the case, court documents, a time line and a request to electronically sign a petition to the Pennsylvania attorney general asking him to “uphold his oath and recognize Jordan’s constitutional rights” including right to a speedy trial and the right against self-incrimination. The petition can be found at Change.org: http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-13-yr-old-jordan-brown-2.

Amnesty International also is raising questions about whether Jordan’s prosecution as an adult would violate international law. The website can be accessed at http://www.amnesty.org.

Higgins said she was drawn to the case by Jordan’s age, 11 at the time of the murder. Investigating further, she became convinced that Jordan could be innocent. She questions how thorough a job police did investigating the case and whether there aren’t other possibilities besides Jordan’s guilt.

A writer for a digital magazine, Higgins even made and posted a short video about the case on the website. She said she is happy that an appeals court ruled Jordan’s consitutional right against self-incrimination was violated by the common pleas court ruling that he should be tried as adult because he was not amenable to rehabilitation since he had not admitted guilt. She pointed to the circumstances of his initial questioning by police without his father present and what she believes is sparse physical evidence as other factors that make her question Jordan’s guilt.

She commented that she would like to see a law enacted requiring that police questioning of juvenile suspects or witnesses be electronically recorded.

Regardless, she believes that even if Jordan is guilty, life in prison without the chance of parole is too harsh a penalty for a then 11-year-old. Although she believes Jordan is innocent, she said that if he is proved to be guilty, the juvenile-court penalty of imprisonment until age 21, is acceptable if he is placed in a program geared toward rehabilitation.

Evidently there are many who agree with Higgins. The petition has drawn 2,027 signatures from all over the United States and the world. A California resident posted on July 19, “It is shocking … that a minor who isn’t allowed to vote, isn’t allowed to drive and isn’t deemed to have the cognitive ability to enter into his own contracts is being tried as an adult.”

Higgins said that when she first put up the website, the reaction was mostly negative and against Jordan. She said some of the comments were “surprising” in the “hateful” sentiments they expressed toward the boy. However, she said the comments have been becoming more supportive of Jordan as she builds the website and adds more information to it.

She also believes Jordan’s rights have been violated by the length of time that he has been awaiting trial. She pointed out that when Jordan’s case finally comes to court, those who will judge him will see him as a 14-year-old, (he will turn 14 Aug. 30) not as the 11-year-old he was when the murder took place.

She wonders about a jury, too. “We are supposed to be judged by our peers,” she said. “Will Jordan be judged by children his age?”

Higgins said she will continue to follow the case and hopes to attend the Aug. 5 decertification hearing in common pleas court here that will determine again whether he will be tried as a juvenile or adult.


Comments

1LittleMo(10 comments)posted 3 years ago

This woman is out of her mind. I don't live too far away from New Castle and this brat is guilty as hell. Maybe somebody should remind her of Joneboro, Arkansas and the other incidents where the shooters were young. As for "jury of your peers" that doesn't mean "jury of your own age" necessarily. OJ Simpson was tried by a jury that was primarily white and Hispanic. I don't really give a damn about rehabilition - for too long there has been too much concern over the rights of the accused and it's long past time that the public starts remembering the victim. I don't really give a damn about rehabilitation. Whe this boy is proven guilty he deserves the punishment that fits the crime.

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2paniquimarine(6 comments)posted 3 years ago

I am in total agreements with LittleMo. For too long now, Americans have been more concerned about the welfare of cold blooded murders, rapists, and other sick people of society. In all other animals, we euthenize the sick,demented animals
for the protection of society but when it comes to the demented people of our society, justice is being to hard on the criminals. If this 11 year old boy wants to act like an adult and take the lives of two innocent people, then he should be tried as an adult. If found guilty, he should receive the maximum punishment allowed under the law. This 11 year old should be happy, that Pennsylvania does not have the death penalty, or he should be considered for it.

As for Melissa Higgins, I have a question for her? What about the age of the unborn baby that will never have a chance to take his/her first breath of life, take his/her first steps, learn to potty train, go to preschool kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college, play sports, get married, have his/her own babies.

No! Melissa Higgins, I have absolutely no sympathy for a 11 year old murderer.

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3Stu(3 comments)posted 3 years ago

Firstly, thank you for this article Mary and for bringing the violation of Jordan's rights to the public's attention.

Secondly, don't ever allow the views of the uneducated dissuade you from the wonderful work you are doing, Melissa. If others would actually bother to do a tenth of the research you have done, then maybe they would be more conversant with the case.

Lastly, to 'LittleMo'. Melissa is perfectly sane and of sound mind, in spite of your crude accusation.
Your ignorance reminds of something else that happened in Jonesboro, Arkansas (in 1994), when two teenagers were wrongfully convicted of a triple homicide and those, who to this day, defend the State of Arkansas' convictions of guilt in the face of evidence to the contrary.

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4Stu(3 comments)posted 3 years ago

To 'paniquimarine':
Does your country no longer hold fast to the tenet "innocent until proven guilty"?
For too long the court of public opinion has laid waste to that, it would seem.

The hate-mongering of people such as yourself and 'LittleMo' is a very sad indictment on the human condition.

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5oldmillspice(160 comments)posted 3 years ago

If at the age he was when he murdered the woman and unborn child is taken into concideration means anything, think of this...Anyone at any age that can kill in cold blood has a mental disorder and it has been proven they can and will murder again. No way , he should be put away for life or executed. People like him need to be dispatched . God forbid he ever reproduce . His genes need to be eliminated from this planet

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

"Regardless, she believes that even if Jordan is guilty, life in prison without the chance of parole is too harsh a penalty for a then 11-year-old."

This young boy can be equated with many so called freedom fighters . He didn't like his territory invaded and overtaken so he took action . His action eliminated the invader that caused friction and loss of his control . Melissa Higgins admires what he has done and wants him to once again occupy the territory that he had fought for .

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7bouyantkym(30 comments)posted 3 years ago

you all are a bunch of idiots, this is a child, who is in pain some where!! there is a possibility of help, you grown people should be ashamed of yourselves. what he did is wrong, but he should not be thrown away!! i hope none of you are in the mental health field.this lady seems to be a very loving woman, who has taken her time to understand children. enough said!

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

bouyantkym :

The only pain that this child has is being held against his will . He had eliminated his problem back home .

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9Hillary(43 comments)posted 3 years ago

Jordan was swept from his home by police at approx. 2:00 a.m. the morning after the shooting, he was alone, scared, and unable to see his father for several days as he was sat in an adult prison cell.

His father was unaware of an interrogation at the school the morning of the shooting. The interrogation was deemed informational and allowed to indict him. (Forget the fact that the police woman is quoted as saying "everyone" was a suspect this a.m.)

Jordan claimed to have seen a "black" truck on the interview/interrogation. The other child in the home claimed nothing unusual. Re-interviewing of the "7-year-old" child while in the presence of the victim's family, caused her to now claim she heard a "boom" and saw Jordan with a "blue blanket". Re-interviewing of Jordan lead to him saying, the truck may have been white. (forget that it snowed this day)

A five hour investigation done. No dusting for finger-prints, the blue blanket later came back from the lab with a "cigarette" burn in it and no gun residue, the child's shirt had a tiny bit of gun residue on it. (forget that he target shot regularly.)

The victim had protective orders on an x-boyfriend that claimed he threatened to kill the victim and her family and even hire someone. He has a black truck. His father, who was well known, said his son was asleep during the shooting and because his car had snow on it and looked like it never left the drive-way, he was cleared. Did I mention this all occurred in the middle of a big election for D.A. ? And that Jordan would be the youngest person in the country ever tried as an adult?

The x-lover learned a week before the murders through DNA testing he was not the father of one of victim's children.

The victim's father is on the news after the shooting, stating that the victim had some "problems" with people.

In short, we have a child, 11 years-old going on three years in a juvenile center and this is what they have. The Superior Court had to be called on and found that the initially ruling by the Judge who decided to keep the case in adult status, was a violation of Jordan's Fifth Amendment . A hearing is set for August 3th to hear even more argument to decide if the "11 year-old child" should be tried as an adult or a juvenile, (in rehabilitation, need I remind you).

One may want to ask themselves if this behavior would be tolerated if it was the D.A. or Judge's own child in the shoes of the defendant? Would an illegal interrogation that even duped the school officials be valid? Would the re-interviewing of a "seven year-old child" be considered reliable? Would the right to a speedy trial, which was legally required in 365 days be ignored as well?

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/379/ju...

http://www.amnesty.org/ar/library/ass...

http://www.jordanbrowntrust.org/index...

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

This young boy has his rights . His victim is deceased and thus has none . Let us free this young fellow so that he can select another victim before he is of age . NOT ! At the minimum he should be held in custody until the age of twenty one .

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11hellokitty(161 comments)posted 3 years ago

When this tragedy first occurred, one of the victim's daughters stated that she saw young Jordan carrying the murder weapon.

What is the final disposition of this statement?

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12jussaying60(8 comments)posted 3 years ago

First (and I know somebody will say it)
I'm not a bleeding heart liberal. Everybody deserves to have their chance at life. But, there seems to be so much unknown about this case. There is more to this story than meets the eye. Why have they waited 3 years? If this boy did act alone on this, it just reinforces the fact that our society is encouraging kids to become cold, heartless violent, "I'm gonna get what I want at all costs". killers. If he had issues, who handed this kid a gun?
Or let him have access? Something doesn't jive

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13Hillary(43 comments)posted 3 years ago

Stan are you saying that because the victims are no longer with us, the child is automatically responsible for their deaths? You may want to look up "due process" Stan. How about the "innocent project" Stan? Check that out also.

Pennsylvania still runs on dark age morals. Corruption is not new to Pennsylvania. The prosecutor in this child's case convicted a man (Kimble) in a prominent case in PA some years ago (Dryfuse).--It landed him a lot of recognition. The case landed on a program (crime t.v.??)--due to the publicity. The funny thing is that a the man he convicted and who sat on death row for 4-5 yrs. was later found "innocent" and released. He was a pawn.

Society is also teaching our kids that you cannot trust the justice system. It is win at all costs. If you have money or clout you can bypass being considered a suspect.

If there was a rush to judgment, and I believe there was, do you really think they are going to admit it now? This is why the case is still lingering. Many people cave and plea bargain during this time. This would save their faces. If no plea comes, the child will keep growing and they will portray him as an adult, not the child he was when accused. Justice? Really?

It doesn't jive. justsaying...

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14Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

Let the child stay in custody until he turns twenty-one before he leaves the justice system . Anytime sooner is a recipe for disaster . I don't know what your motive is Hillary nor do I care .

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15Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years ago

21 and out seems reasonable.

Life without parole in an adult prison is too much for a kid regardless of how heinous a crime he committed.

A child can't reason the same way as an adult can thus the different rules apply.

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16Hillary(43 comments)posted 3 years ago

I am not here to impress you Stan but I am glad to hear you at least believe in rehabilitation. That tells me you understand that a child does not think like an adult.

Your choice to convict the child before he goes to trial is your right to freedom of speech.

My "motive", was just that...to remind everyone our our constitutional rights.

and to say this very loud and very, very, clear...

FREE JORDAN BROWN!!!! HE IS INNOCENT AND HAS BEEN UNFAIRLY PREJUDGED DUE TO THE RAPID EXPOSURE OF HIS IDENTITY AND THE D.A.'S THEORY WITHIN DAYS OF THE SHOOTING!!!! THE CRIME LAB CLEARS THIS CHILD, AS WELL AS THE FACTS SURROUNDING THE VICTIM AT THE TIME OF DEATH!!!!

Not that you care Stan....

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17Darjan10(5 comments)posted 3 years ago

I read this ladies stuff on line when it first came out. She wrote things about the Houk family that were not true. I told her about it she did take them down and put up an apology (THANKS) but how are we to know if the rest she writes about is true. The law officials are not out to frame an 11 year old. The evidence is there. It will all come out in the end and then you will see what you have created.

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18Hillary(43 comments)posted 3 years ago

I have read what this woman has written and she is fair and balanced. You are right the truth will come out in the end. The evidence clears Jordan and what I have read from the victim's family and friends indicates to me that the victim had no love for Jordan, nor did the family.

I never felt that the law officials were out to frame a child. I do believe there was a huge rush to judgment and I feel this was because of he Houk's . There was a lot more information that should have been investigated before the rush to judgment.

You can try to paint a beautiful picture for the victim but the truth is, she had a lot of problems that were surfacing. It does not mean she deserved what happened, I think what happened is a shame but to voice such terrible things about a child that landed in the mix of all the problems if just so disturbing. The baby was the most innocent being there. The child accused was the next innocent being there. No child should ever have to be treated like this through the media. Guilty or not.

I am sorry if that offends you but I am tired of you people spinning the public. The evidence and the facts clear Jordan.

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19Castle2145(2 comments)posted 3 years ago

Little town North of Pittsburgh. They call it The Castle, short for New Casle. We are very proud of our fireworks and our Coney Island Hotdogs. What are we ashamed of? Our corrupted political environment, as well as the drugs, depending on who you ask!. Yes, ask anyone from New Castle, they will all tell you the same thing. I moved out over a year ago to Southern California, but trust me I can tell you first hand about New Caslte Police and Politics. The police, which I will not elaborate have numerous issues. I have many family members on the force, not in new castle, and I support police across the country. I know about everyone from the top down in New Casle, they not only smell of corruption, but they ARE. Do some research, there have been convictions of public employees over the past years, and thats just the ones convicted. Everyone in "The Castle" believes they are out of the Godfather series. Its a laughing Joke, that New Castle has the highest unsolved murder cases per capita in the county. (Never checked statistics, but this may not be a joke) The point here is this....I know the father, Chris..not on a personal level, but have talked to him numerous times. I do not know the child, and do not know if he is innocent or guilty. I do know this...This case wreaks with laziness which is typical in New Castle...Has anyone thought of trying to make connections to the ex boyfriend and the police/public employees in New Castle? That would be a start. I am by no means a liberal looking to make a stand on issues here, quite the converse. I believe strongly in the justice system and prosecuting ANYONE of a crime like the one here. BUT, my gut tells me there is a good chance this "child" is innocent. It is sickening to hear people say he should be put away for life without knowing any facts. Do research, (Not media) but real digging into this, and you will find it is disturbing the lack of follow up from the Police...again typical in New Castle.

They state that the child is emotionally disturbed....Tell me what 11 year old would not be after being pulled out of school, and told he may be facing life in prison...He probably cannot even comprehend what is going on! (Judge Motto, mentioned the boy had deep emotional issues)

Please research the favoritism that has been handed down in New Castle on certain cases. Also look at wrongly convicted people out of New Caslte. (hint, they just convicted a rape charge that was totally ludicrous)

Hillary- You mentioned Kimble was wrongly accused....You are correct...guess what else? Yep, he was from New Castle as well....Trust me quite a coincidence within a county of 90k.

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20Castle2145(2 comments)posted 3 years ago

I never write posts, this boy needs help. Dennis Elisco, who I do know well is a very honest, good person. He will do all he can to help in this case. BUT, what is really needed here is a high powered attorney. One that is unbiased, and ready to turn some heads...If someone really wanted to make a name for themselves, this is the case to do it! TRUST me, start digging in New Castle, PA and this case, you will find dirt.

They totally ignored the Ex-Boyfriend? What a shame...I used to think New Castle was corrupt, but this is an 11 year old boy. I now this not only corrupt, but immoral and downright evil. They totally ignored this ex-boyfriend, who had made numerous threats.

I hope someone looks into this and takes it seriously. I am by no means a far left extremist looking for a cause, quite the opposite. I would like to see anyone guilty of cases of this magnitude locked up for good. Quite honestly, 11 or not, if truly guilty maybe life is appropriate...I am not at liberty to say, but damn this whole case smells wrong..

PS. Stan- You a just a moron, no use arguing with you.

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21Darjan10(5 comments)posted 3 years ago

Hillary. Show me the evidence and the facts that clear him. I have met with the family on numerous occasions at the state police barracks and in meetings with Attorney General Krastek. In those meetings I have seen the evidence and the facts. And castle they did not totally ignore the ex boyfriend, he was questioned in the same building as was Chris Brown and for the record it is on tape that Chris Brown said If I had to think of someone who would do this I would say that the way Kenzie talked about Adam (the ex boyfriend) he did not do this.

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22Hillary(43 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

I feel the coroner was neglectful. He missed some key information and I feel it was because of the early arrest of the child.

Regarding the investigation, there are many, many, things I feel that were neglected.

Regarding the comment you claim the father said about the x. From what I read people are afraid of that guy.

P.S.
The Dryfuse murderer is still out there. Maybe he/she did it.

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23Stan(9923 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Jordan Brown needs to be a ward of the state and in custody until he is twenty one . The taking of a life even by an eleven year old is a serious matter .

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24Hillary(43 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

The taking the life of an 11 year old child is equally a serious matter.

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25Darjan10(5 comments)posted 2 years, 12 months ago

Now Hillary you are talking about MY FAMILY when you speak of the Dryfuse's. What did the coroner miss? What key info? And regarding the investigation what was neglected? I need you to answer my question. The murderer of Bonnie Dryfuse, her daughters, Jackie and Heather and her niece Stephanie was behind bars but he got off on a technicality because the mother of Stephanie was not able to be in the courtroom as a witness because, and to this day, is not the same since her daughter passed away. It has been written all over this internet how Debbie, Kenzie's mother, should act. I hope I never have to go through what either of these women are going through. And the taking of innocent children at the age of 4, Kenzie's daughter, who found her mother and will live with that the rest of her life is equally a seroius matter.

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26WGACA(1 comment)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

People do get out on technicalities and people get out becuase they never should have been found guilty in the beginning. I've known more corrupt law enforcement than this column has space for.

Jordan is in jail because New Castle law enforcement are either too corrupt or too stupid to find the killer. Perhaps a little of both.

In all the finger pointing I have to wonder how hard they looked at Jordan's dad, Chris. I'm sure he never imagined his son would take the blame but for a man who's wife and possibly his child is dead and who's son is in prison he doesn't seem all that interested in finding the killer.

Does this seem odd to anyone but me?

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27Darjan10(5 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

WGACA: "Jordan is in jail because New Castle law enforcement are either too corrupt or too stupid to find the killer. Perhaps a little of both". And once again, somebody answer my question, you know this how??? I believe he should be in jail (Chris Brown) because it is kind of suspicious, if it wasn't his son then why isn't he concerned about who did it.

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28Hillary(43 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Darjan10

Truly sorry to bring that horrific case up. It is hard to fathom that someone could do that to a woman and her children.

My point was only to say that there are people wrongfully charged and convicted. Whoever did that to your family members should not be able to see the light of day.

RE: Jordan's case though, I feel he was convicted in the media before he had a trial. He is a child. I have felt from the beginning that the case was not investigated thoroughly enough and that there was a rush to judgment.

RE: His father. He had nothing at all to gain by the loss of his fiancee and unborn child. He loved his son and raised him primarily on his own. I believe he loved the victim and her children as well. Whatever people want to think about him, he loved children in general.

This poor guy has had a tremendous burden of sorrow since the tragedy, as well as the Houks.

It is a truly sad case all around. To make it worse with hatred is never going to make things any better.

There are no winners here but a child should never be convicted on circumstantial evidence. He has maintained his innocence from the beginning. I believe him.

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