Judge orders new hearing for juvenile in Pa. murder case
By Mary Grzebieniak
NEW CASTLE, Pa.
A new hearing has been set for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 5 before Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick Motto on whether Jordan Brown should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult in the 2009 murder of his father’s fianc e.
Motto ordered the hearing set after meeting with attorneys for both sides Wednesday.
Atty. David Acker, who, along with Atty. Dennis Elisco, is defending Brown, said that the new hearing is the result of the Superior Court’s earlier reversal of Motto’s March, 2010 decision that Jordan should be tried as an adult.
Motto had made his ruling citing Brown’s failure to admit guilt after two psychologists testified that rehabilitation would be unlikely for a youth who failed to take responsibility for his actions. If tried as a juvenile, Brown could only be incarcerated until age 21, while he could face life in prison if tried as an adult.
But the Superior Court agreed in a March 2011 ruling that this reasoning violated Brown’s constitutional right against self- incrimination.
Acker said that both parties could have the option to present additional evidence or the hearing could be based on the existing record with all references to Jordan’s refusal to admit guilt eliminated.
Brown is charged with a double homicide in the shotgun killing of 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk and her unborn child as she slept in the New Galilee farmhouse where she lived with Jordan, his father, and her two daughters. He was 11 at the time and is now 13.
Brown is still being held in an Erie juvenile facility.