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June 22, 2012

Jordan Brown attorneys appeal homicide decision

NEW CASTLE — Attorneys for Jordan Brown have filed an appeal in the boy’s homicide case.

The appeal is in regard to Judge John Hodge’s determination that Jordan is a delinquent and responsible for the Febuary 2009 shooting death of Kenzie Houk.

Houk — the fiancée of Jordan’s father — was eight months pregnant at the time she was killed in the New Beaver Borough home she shared with the Browns and her two daughters.

Jordan, who was 11 at the time of the shooting, originally was charged as an adult, as required by state law. A years-long legal effort by his attorneys followed to have his case transferred to the juvenile justice system.

Eventually, that effort succeeded and a juvenile proceeding, closed to the public, was conducted in April. In it, Hodge determined Jordan was responsible for Houk’s death.

On May 18, a disposition hearing — the juvenile equivalent of a sentencing — was conducted for Jordan in Lawrence County court, again behind closed doors.

That hearing formalized Jordan’s detention and rehabilitation schedule. He could be held until he turns 21. But his case is to be reviewed every six months to assess his progress with rehabilitation and he could be released after any of those reviews.

Just as in criminal court, Pennsylvania’s legal system allows juveniles to appeal a judge’s finding that they are responsible. Docket information online shows such an appeal was filed Wednesday with Pennsylvania’s Superior Court on Jordan’s behalf.

He is being represented by attorneys Dennis Elisco and Stephen Colafella. Attempts to reach both attorneys yesterday were unsuccessful. The docket filing does not contain details about the appeal.

However, any appeal would focus on what the defense believes to be errors in Hodge’s findings, determinations or assessment of evidence in the case.

Juvenile appeals are put on what is called a “fast track” by the Superior Court. And in Jordan’s case, the docket indicates a hearing now is scheduled for Aug. 20.

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