New Castle News

Hot Topics

August 22, 2013

State Supreme Court asked to review Jordan Brown case

NEW CASTLE — 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.

On April 13, 2012, Lawrence County Juvenile Court Judge John W. Hodge ruled that Jordan was responsible for the deaths of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, and her unborn child.

Houk was found shot in the back of the head at the New Beaver Borough farmhouse she shared with Jordan, his father and her two daughters.

Jordan, 15, was 11 at the time of the Feb. 20, 2009, incident.

He was arrested the following morning and charged originally as an adult with two counts of criminal homicide.

He has been in a juvenile facility, where he could remain until his 21st birthday.

Following his conviction, defense attorneys appealed to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. In May, the Superior Court overturned the conviction and sent the case back to county juvenile court.

The appeal by the office of the attorney general is the final step, according to defense attorney Dennis Elisco.

Yesterday, he said, was the deadline for the commonwealth to appeal to the Superior Court’s order that sent the case back to the county.

“They have asked the Supreme Court to review the overturning of the guilty verdict. We don’t expect the Supreme Court will hear the appeal,” Elisco said.

He said the defense has 14 days to answer the appeal.

“We will file an answer,” he said.

In his filing, James P. Barker, chief deputy attorney general, yesterday challenged the Superior Court’s opinion that the weight of evidence did not support Hodge’s ruling and that evidence on record does not support critical factual findings.

Barker argues evidence presented at the juvenile court hearing did support Hodge’s ruling and that any other ruling “would offend one’s sense of justice.”

Debbie Houk, the victim’s mother, said she had been informed of the appeal.

“It needed to be done,” she said, adding, “Maybe the people in the higher court will listen.”

Houk, who was present throughout the juvenile court proceedings said she heard evidence presented and concludes that Hodge’s ruling could have been nothing other than what it was.

“In four years the defense has brought forth no evidence to say that it could have been anyone other than Jordan (responsible for the deaths),” she said.

The commonwealth, she said, “presented everything, the shell casing, his clothing, his gun. There were no tracks other than the children’s tracks leading from the house.

“These are the facts,” she said. “I can only go on the facts that I have heard. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can only go on the facts. I believe no one else could have been responsible.”



Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hot Topics
  • Bobosky.jpg Gas holdouts unconvinced of safety

    When Suzanne Matteo and her husband, Martin, bought their house on four acres in Pulaski Township they had a plan. They would grow a huge vegetable garden, raise lots of flowers and a few chickens and enjoy the fresh air and quiet.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

    More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed. They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg Hilcorp seeks to force drilling on reluctant landowners

    A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling. Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • brown.jpg 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.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casino.jpg Casino hearing date now official

    May 8 has been confirmed as the public hearing date for Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hear from those who wish to comment on the casino license under consideration for the racetrack/casino complex planned for Mahoning Township.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Agreement to enhance Austintown track project

    Penn National Gaming announced Monday it has signed a key agreement regarding its Austintown race track and casino. The thoroughbred racing track, part of a facility that will include slots-like gambling machines, is scheduled to open in the fall, and the new agreement with the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is being touted as “positive progress” in meeting that deadline.

    March 11, 2014

  • Vogler.jpg Public hearing for casino could be in spring

    The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board could turn its focus to Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort this spring. Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler, who attended the board’s meeting in Harrisburg this week, said he and staff members informally discussed a timetable for the upcoming public hearing on the gaming application submitted by Endeka Entertainment.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • brown.jpg 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.

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo 9 Stories

  • Elisco.jpg 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.

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo 8 Stories

  • 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.

    February 24, 2014

House Ads

Are you concerned enough about the Heartbleed bug on the Internet to change all of your social media and website passwords?

Yes. It’s always a good idea to change passwords regularly anyway. I just have so many, I’m not sure where to start.
No. From what I’ve read, companies are still trying to figure out how to fix the flaw. The bad guys will just have access to my NEW passwords, too.
Not sure, but I blame Al Gore. He invented the Internet, right? How’s he going to get us out of this mess?
     View Results