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
State Supreme Court asked to review Jordan Brown case
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has been asked to review a lower court’s ruling that overturned the conviction of Jordan Brown. Defense attorneys do not believe the case will be heard.
Jordan Brown Case: High court rejects request in teen’s case
The Pennsylvania Superior Court has told state prosecutors it doesn’t want to hear a re-argument of Jordan Brown’s appeal.
Jordan Brown Case: Teen’s evaluation frustrates victim’s family
Jordan Brown is doing well academically but may not be receiving adequate rehabilitative treatment, according to his victim’s family.
Prosecutors granted stay in Jordan Brown decision
A hearing on the status of a boy accused in a 2009 fatal shooting has been canceled. The hearing on 15-year-old Jordan Brown’s detention had been planned for Lawrence County Court today, but was canceled after prosecutors requested, and received, a stay in the proceedings.
Jordan Brown Case: Next step unclear, attorneys say
The Jordan Brown case has stretched into its fifth year. But it is not over yet. And the lawyers representing the 15-year-old don’t know exactly what will happen next.
Jordan Brown Case: Victim’s parents ‘devastated’ by ruling
Kenzie Houk’s parents are devastated — again. The first time was when she was fatally shot in February, 2009. The second time was Wednesday, when they learned of a ruling by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Appeals court overturns Jordan Brown ruling
A Pennsylvania appeals court has overturned the Jordan Brown decision in Lawrence County. As a result, a new juvenile proceeding will be needed for the now-15-year-old accused in the 2009 shooting death of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Houk.
Jordan Brown heading to George Junior
Jordan Brown is moving closer to home. At a hearing Thursday, Judge John W. Hodge approved transferring the 15-year-old from a facility in central Pennsylvania to one in western Pennsylvania. Jordan was in the courtroom, which was closed to the public.
Jordan Brown Case: Observers comment on teen’s first treatment review
Kenzie Houk’s family and friends fear Jordan Brown is not receiving the help he was promised. After Friday’s evaluation hearing, the father and sister of the woman Jordan had been found responsible for killing expressed concerns the teen may be a victim of abuse perpetrated by the system, his family and defense counsel.
Jordan Brown Case: Victim’s family disappointed at evaluation report
Jordan Brown visited Lawrence County on Friday. As in the past, he said nothing. In April, Jordan, 15, was found responsible for the 2009 deaths of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, and her unborn child.
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