New Castle News

February 16, 2012

Court to hear Jordan Brown appeal

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Jordan Brown will have another day in court next month.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court will hear an appeal filed by the teen’s attorneys, who are seeking his release from custody. The hearing will be March 28 in Pittsburgh.

Jordan, now 14, is charged with two counts of homicide in the February 2009 shooting death of Kenzie Houk, who was eight months pregnant at the time. Houk, the fiancée of Jordan’s father Christopher Brown, was shot she was while lying in bed in the family’s New Beaver Borough home.

Defense attorneys Dennis Elisco and Stephen Colafella had asked Lawrence County Common Please Court Judge John Hodge to order Jordan’s release from a juvenile detention facility near Erie, but Hodge refused. They are now appealing that ruling.

The attorneys contend state law requires the boy’s case be heard within days of it being transferred to juvenile court. That occurred in August when — after two and a half years of legal wrangling — Judge Dominick Motto agreed to move Jordan from the adult system to juvenile court.

In Pennsylvania, juveniles suspected of homicide automatically are charged as adults. The courts then must approve any move to the juvenile system.

The delay in Jordan’s juvenile proceeding was prompted by another court case, in which the New Castle News and two Pittsburgh newspapers are seeking access to his court sessions.

The papers are arguing that while juvenile proceedings in Pennsylvania generally are conducted behind closed doors, the law grants exceptions in some cases. Plus, the extensive publicity surrounding Jordan’s case to date negates any rationale for protecting the boy’s privacy at this point, the papers add.

Hodge, who is presiding over Jordan’s juvenile case, refused the newspapers’ request last year and all three appealed to Superior Court, which conducted a hearing on the matter in January.

A decision on that matter is pending.