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May 13, 2013

Prosecutors granted stay in Jordan Brown decision

NEW CASTLE — 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.

The hearing for Jordan had been scheduled after the Superior Court last week overturned a 2012 decision by Lawrence County Judge John Hodge. The local judge had determined Jordan was responsible for the shooting deaths of Kenzie Houk and her unborn son.

The appeals court had ordered the case returned to the local court for additional proceedings after vacating Hodge’s ruling in Jordan’s juvenile case.

But a stay of that order was approved after prosecutors made the request. It is anticipated the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting Jordan, will formally appeal the ruling.

That appeal would go to the full Superior Court. The existing ruling was reached by a panel of three judges from the court.

The move marks the latest in a serious of legal procedures involving Jordan’s case. Shortly after Kenzie Houk’s body was found in her New Beaver Borough home in February of 2009, Jordan was charged with firing the fatal shotgun blast.

Houk was the fiancée of Jordan’s father, Christopher Brown, and the couple lived at the home with Jordan and Houk’s two daughters.

Originally, Jordan — who was 11 at the time — was charged as an adult in the case, as required by Pennsylvania law. After a series of hearings and appeals, his case was later transferred to juvenile court.

In April 2012, Hodge conducted a juvenile hearing for Jordan and ruled the boy was responsible for the shooting. But Jordan’s attorneys appealed that decision to Superior Court, which last week issued an opinion stating there was insufficient evidence presented in the juvenile proceeding to justify Hodge’s ruling.

Jordan remains at the George Junior Republic juvenile detention facility in Grove City. He has been in custody in various facilities since his arrest the day after the shooting.

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