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Jordan Brown found guilty in slayings, awaits sentencing



Published: Sat, April 14, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

By JEANNE STARMACK

starmack@vindy.com

NEW CASTLE, Pa.

Though Jordan Brown was found guilty in the shotgun murder of his father’s pregnant fiancee, the victim’s father says there really won’t be closure.

“We’re not gonna sit back and enjoy the victory,” said Jack Houk shortly after Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge John Hodge announced his decision Friday. “There’s no joy for us. He killed our daughter and the baby.”

A few family members and Jordan were present in the courtroom at 2 p.m. to await the decision, which was closed to the public because it was a juvenile proceeding. Jordan, 14, was adjudicated delinquent, which means guilty in juvenile court, for killing Kenzie Houk, 26, the morning of Feb. 20, 2009, as she lay in bed in a farmhouse the family was renting near Wampum, Pa.

Police said Jordan, 11 at the time, got his 20-gauge youth-model shotgun, loaded it, went into Houk’s room and shot her at close range in the back of the head.

Afterward, he got on the school bus with Houk’s 7-year-old daughter, Janessa. Her 4-year-old daughter, Adalynn, found her mother’s body and went for help to tree-trimmers working in the yard.

Houk’s unborn baby, a boy who was due in two weeks, died from lack of oxygen.

Police found the shotgun in Jordan’s room.

Jordan has been in a juvenile detention center in Erie, Pa., for three years while his lawyers fought for a transfer of his case from adult to juvenile court.

Now, he will be sent to a treatment program. The prosecutor in the case, Assistant Attorney General Anthony Krastek Jr., said the boy is supposed to be sentenced within 20 days, though the court could be granted an extension.

Jordan’s father, Chris Brown, did not speak to the media after the verdict. After closing arguments Thursday, he and defense attorney Dennis Elisco said they believed the evidence was circumstantial and that the state had not proved its case.

Brown said Thursday there was no motive for Jordan to shoot Houk because he loved her. He called his son “a good kid.”

Krastek said Friday, however, that there were indications of a motive.

“We don’t have to prove motive,” Krastek said. “But there was evidence of ill-feeling, that there was better treatment of the stepsisters, and he was being moved out of his room to make room for the new baby.”

He also elaborated on other evidence.

There were no footprints in freshly fallen snow, he said, to indicate anyone else could have been at the house. The children and Kenzie were there alone; Chris Brown was at work.

“There was a half-hour window of opportunity for this killing,” Krastek said. “They lived out in the boondocks. Very few people knew they lived there.”

Someone would have had to know where the gun was, where the ammunition was, gotten them without waking Houk, killed her, then left without leaving any footprints or tire tracks, he said.

He also said there was gunshot residue on the boy’s shirt and pants.

Elisco could not be reached Friday. Jordan’s other defense attorney, Stephen Colafella, said the defense is disappointed in the verdict.

“But we respect it,” he said. “We’re moving on, and at the end of the day, it’s what’s best for Jordan.”

He said that the Erie detention center was mainly a holding center that did not offer much in the way of programs.

Colafella said Jordan likely will go to a center that can meet his needs for treatment and education.

Jordan must be released on his 21st birthday, he said, but could be released before then.

His lawyers will receive reports on his progress every six months.

Colafella said he does not know how Jordan reacted to the verdict, because he was taken quickly from the courthouse for security reasons and they did not have a chance to talk to him.

Houk said he would have liked the chance to ask Jordan “why.”

“I’d like to look him right in the face and say, ‘Why did you do that,’” he said, his voice breaking.


Comments

1foxyglo(372 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Well that's, that. He was eleven when the crime was done, but what age was he when he received the damn gun. A lot of people corrupt their kids in a way , then later in life try to defend it. Such as a mother buying and allowing their young daughter to wear make up , then when these older men start @ them then it's a problem. Maybe if not the gun then it could have been a stabbing. But hey no matter how young , do the crime , u'll do time. MAYBE NOW HE WILL UNDERSTAND

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2sobeit(98 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I feel most bad for the poor little girl that found her mother lying lifeless in bed at the age of 4. That's going to affect her for the rest of her life. She is the one who is really going to suffer the most, along with her other child who is now motherless.

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3stewie(109 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

I'm not a tea-party bible thumper, but I believe the little evil bastard should be locked up for life. Along with his idiot of a father for giving him access to a weapon at such an early age.

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4LadyMadonna(32 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Children should not have access to guns...period.

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5valleymom(38 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Something being forgotten in this story is the blended family this boy was having to deal with. When parents make choices that put themselves ahead of their children, moving on to another relationship and having kids with someone who already has kids with someone else, there are issues of jealousy and conflict that have to be dealt with. Yes, he should have had some idea of right from wrong, and no, he should not have access to a gun without supervision. But the breakdown of a stable family is a huge issue, and for someone to say, oh, he was a good kid, he didn't have any bad feelings toward her is very naive. Very sad situation, and we see it all the time with the breakdown of the family. Kids are the losers in these situations.

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6FifthAve(169 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

The Supeme Coiurt just ruled that it is cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a juvenile to life without parole.

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7CountryGirl51(207 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

The whole situation is very sad !

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