New Castle News

TOP STORIES

May 10, 2013

Jordan Brown Case: Victim’s parents ‘devastated’ by ruling

NEW CASTLE — 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.

A three-judge panel overturned the decision of Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge John Hodge, who had found Jordan Brown responsible for the 26-year-old Houk’s death.

“We’re devastated,” her mother Debbie Houk said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re very upset.”

Following a juvenile court hearing last spring, Jordan, now 15, was found to have been responsible for the deaths of Houk — his father’s fiancée — and her unborn child.

He was ordered to a juvenile facility for treatment. His case is to be reviewed every six months by the trial judge who determines whether he should continue treatment or be released. The process continues until he is released or turns 21. The next review is scheduled for June 19.

However, the appeals court’s ruling orders the case back to the county and opens the possibility of a new trial.

Kenzie Houk’s father Jack said he does not look forward to another trial and the stress it will put on his family.

Although the appeals court said the evidence presented does not support the judge’s finding, the Houks are confident the police arrested the correct person.

“All of this is so unnecessary,” Debbie Houk said, adding, “I don’t want to go through this a second time.”

She said the ruling is hurting both her family and Jordan.

“No one cares to help him,” she said. “This will only hurt him. It will not help him to get better.”

In addition to putting herself and her husband through the pain of another trial, she said, Kenzie’s 12-year-old daughter Jenessa — who was 7 at the time of the shooting — may be required to testify.

Houk, who is raising Jenessa and her 8-year-old sister, said she has not spoken with her about the case. The girls, she said, are in counseling for the loss of their mother.

“But this will require a lot more if she has to testify,” Houk said. “Everyone considers what is best for Jordan but what about the little girls? They are not considered.”

Houk said she has no reason to believe a second trial will yield a different outcome.

“Two people are dead and there is no one else,” she said. “We’ve had forensics, the best there is. I don’t doubt what they had to say. He knew what to do and he did it. There was no one else there. It is time to pay for what he did.

“I sometimes wonder about what went on. Did she feel anything? What about the baby, so close to being born, did he struggle when his oxygen was cut off?”

Houk said she wants to get on with as normal a life as possible with her granddaughters.

When the ruling came down, she said, she followed through with plans to attend a mother-daughter dinner with her mother.

“I’ll never be able to attended such a Mother’s Day dinner with my daughter Kenzie,” she said, “and her daughters will never have another Mother’s Day with their mother.

“Sometimes it seems like yesterday that she was here. I’ve filled the void in their lives but I’ll never be a mommy to them,” she said of her granddaughters.

“Their mother was taken from them and so was their grandma. I can’t enjoy them as my grandchildren if I’m the one raising them.

“I don’t ask for pity, but it’s not easy.”

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • VerySpecial.jpg Jameson Hoyt Atrium display spotlights artwork of special needs kids and adults

    Artwork from dozens of area students will take center stage Thursday in the Hoyt Atrium of Jameson Hospital. The Very Special Arts exhibit will kick off with an opening reception at 5 p.m., and the works will remain on display in the glass-enclosed walkway through Oct. 4.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DougDanko.jpg Census shows county population getting older

    Lawrence County’s population continues to get older. However, it is not alone, as Pennsylvania overall is aging.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpackproject.jpg Councilman picks up tab to help lunch program

    Participants of a local summer feeding program are eating this week courtesy of New Castle City Councilman Tim Fulkerson. On Friday morning, the truck dispatched from New Castle to pick up about 3,500 pounds of items from the Pittsburgh Food Bank broke down as it arrived at its destination.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CRESTVIEW.jpg Outreach: Churches plan to host picnic for residents of Crestview Gardens

    Volunteers from several area churches are banding together in hopes of bringing peace to a troubled neighborhood.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Council OKs funds to remove dead trees

    New Castle City Council has approved spending funds from its contingency account to remove some trees at Darlington Park. Marshall Tree Experts of Ellwood City has given an estimate of $12,000 to remove the large elm trees from the Mahoningtown park.

     
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 12.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Night light

    The balloons may have been on the ground but spirits were soaring.

     

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • StateFair.jpg 'State Fair' coming to Playhouse

    The fair is coming to town. No, not the Lawrence County Fair, although that is right around the corner. This is the Iowa State Fair, and it will be live on the stage of the New Castle Playhouse for three weeks, starting Friday night.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

House Ads
Poll

Would you want to know what your pet is thinking about you?

Yes! I'd love to know what my pet is thinking.
Nah, it's probably not that interesting.
I don't know. I'm afraid of what I might find out.
     View Results