NEW CASTLE —
After more than three years, the case of Jordan Brown has reached a conclusion.
At least in part. While a judge determined last week that this now-14-year-old boy was responsible for two Lawrence County homicides in 2009, this story is far from over.
From a legal standpoint, the courts still must determine what, specifically, to do with Jordan. A dispositional hearing must be conducted in the next few weeks to outline treatment and rehabilitation procedures for the teen. From there, he must be assessed on a regular basis to determine his progress and whether or not he should be released.
But under Pennsylvania law, he can be held as a juvenile no longer than age 21, despite the severity of the crimes involved.
This is a case that has caused great agony in Lawrence County since it was first reported in February 2009. Kenzie Houk, a young woman who was late into her pregnancy, was discovered fatally shot while lying in bed in the New Beaver borough home she and her two daughters shared with her fiancé and his son, Jordan.
In less than 24 hours, state police arrested Jordan — who was just 11 years old — for the crime. And under Pennsylvania law, the boy was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide.
From there, the saga of Jordan Brown took a series of disturbing twists and turns, as his attorneys fought to have him transferred to juvenile status. Eventually, they were successful. But Pennsylvania’s legal system took two and a half years just to come to that conclusion.
None of this is new to people who have followed this story, and we have commented on it before. There is something fundamentally wrong with Pennsylvania’s method of criminal justice when it takes three years to decide a boy’s fate in a case such as this.
That observation applies not only to Jordan and his family, but to Kenzie Houk’s survivors as well. In this instance, the law compounded a tragedy.
Here we are, more than three years later, and Jordan has been languishing in a detention facility. During this time, he has received no treatment, and no efforts to pursue rehabilitation have been made. That’s because in the eyes of the law, Jordan has been innocent all this time.
We don’t qualify as experts in the fields of child development and psychology. But common sense tells us the changes children undergo between the ages of 11 and 14 are profound. Any effort to rehabilitate Jordan is starting from a very deep hole that’s attributable to the three years that essentially were wasted.
Once more, we call upon the courts and the Legislature in Pennsylvania to see the horribly flawed process that surrounded Jordan’s case. If you want a textbook example of a travesty of justice, this is it.
NEW CASTLE —
- Jordan Brown Case
Boy’s murder case goes to Pennsylvania high court
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court must decide if a Pennsylvania teen should get a new trial in the death of his father’s pregnant fiancée, who was fatally shot with a youth-model shotgun when he was 11.
Our Opinion: After five years, Jordan Brown case continues — sadly for all
It’s not unusual for newspapers to look back on major news events when key anniversaries come about. So it was that the New Castle News has been running articles on the fifth anniversary of the 2009 slaying of Kenzie Houk, and the subsequent arrest of Jordan Brown for the crime.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Defense attorney learns ‘to expect the unexpected’
On the morning of Feb. 21, 2009, attorney Dennis Elisco met a boy who changed his life. Thursday marked the five-year anniversary in the case of 16-year-old Jordan Brown.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: After half a decade, intrigue and questions remain
Unusual aspects of Jordan Brown’s case drew national and international attention. Now 16, Jordan was 11 when he was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide in the fatal shooting of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, 26.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Father convinced beyond a doubt of son’s innocence
The broken-hearted father of Jordan Brown is rebuilding his life while remaining strong for his son. Jordan is charged in the fatal shooting five years ago of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Houk. She was killed in the New Beaver Borough farmhouse the couple shared with Jordan, then 11, and her daughters, who were 7 and 4.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Juvenile advocate in teen’s corner
Dan Dailey has raised money and provided support for Jordan Brown’s defense team. Now a 16-year-old, Jordan was 11 when he was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide in the fatal shooting of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, 26.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Victim’s family ‘coming along’
Second in a series: It’s been five years since Jordan Brown, then 11, was charged with fatally shooting his father’s pregnant fiancée, yet family members on both sides are still searching for answers. Reporter Nancy Lowry explores this historic case in a special series.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Family gathers at cemetery, again
For the fifth time, the Houk family has marked the death of their Kenzie Marie and her unborn son. About two dozen friends and family members gathered Thursday night at Parkside Cemetery for the annual memorial service.
Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Reluctant to comment, prosecutor remains ready
Prosecutors stand ready to bring the Jordan Brown case to its conclusion. Anthony J. Krastek, Pennsylvania senior deputy attorney general, took over prosecution of the case in January 2010.
PDF: Jordan Brown timeline of events
Reporter Nancy Lowry and paginator Bob Fusco outline the key events in the Jordan Brown case through the last five years.
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- Boy’s murder case goes to Pennsylvania high court