New Castle News


November 5, 2012

Jordan Brown Case: Observers comment on teen’s first treatment review

NEW CASTLE — 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.

Jack Houk and Jennifer Kraner said advice from those closest to Jordan has robbed him of opportunities for rehabilitation.

Jordan, 15, was determined to be responsible for the Feb. 20, 2009, shooting deaths of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, and her unborn child.

He was 11 at the time and has been in custody since then.

In May, Lawrence County Judge John W. Hodge ordered Jordan to a juvenile facility for treatment.

The law requires the case to be reviewed every six months by the judge who made the disposition — the juvenile court equivalent of a sentence. These reviews are required to determine if the youth is receiving adequate treatment.

Friday was the first review of the case.

The defense has appealed the judge’s delinquency finding to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and is waiting to learn if that court will hear the appeal. The commonwealth’s brief is due Monday.

“The psychologist said he’s not responsive,” Kraner said. “He said he’s been standing strong for so long — saying nothing at the request of his attorneys — he may no longer know what happened.”

Because Jordan is a juvenile, the evaluation was closed to the public. In addition to Kenzie Houk’s father and sister, family friend Janet Fulkerson attended the session. Kenzie Houk’s mother, Debbie Houk, is ill and could not attend.

Jordan’s father, Chris Brown, his grandmother Janice Brown Myers and Chris Brown’s aunt, Cynthia Wiseman, also were present, as were defense attorney Dennis Elisco and senior deputy attorney general Anthony J. Krastek, on the prosecution side.

“The psychologist at the facility where he has been placed said he has not opened up,” Kraner said. “They tested his IQ and said he is functioning at college level in his learning abilities and he has no mental problems.

“They said he’s very smart. He just won’t open up and talk about his feelings. The doctor said he asked Jordan if he felt stressed, anxious, depressed, angry but he just won’t answer.

“I’m sorry for him,’ Jack Houk said. “I said when he was placed that I was glad that he was going somewhere where he could get treatment. But from what they said, he’s not getting any help.”

Kraner said only two people testified at the hearing. The psychologist, Dr. Ronald Sharp, and a representative of the Lawrence County Juvenile Probation department.

“We have waited for four years for him to get into a place for treatment,” Kraner said.

Debbie Houk said Sunday she has spoken with family members about the hearing.

“We’re all upset,” she said. “They said he’s showing no emotion, no remorse. He’s still calling the shots and everyone around him is still babying him. Another six months has gone by and he has still had no treatment.”

Fulkerson, who attended the hearing, said she believes the boy is not amenable to rehabilitation.

“The facility now housing Jordan said he has been polite, has not been written up, but said it sees no reason to keep him if no relationship can be developed between him and the staff,” she said. “They said it is not fair to the other children (in treatment) who are trying.”

 She said there will be a hearing later this month to determine if Jordan will be moved to another facility. She said Hodge will review the report and requests of juvenile probation that Jordan be subjected to a polygraph.

An attempt to reach Elisco was not successful.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 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

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

  • DROWN.jpg Local teen drowns in Slippery Rock Creek

    Divers from several fire departments responded yesterday to a drowning in the Kennedy Mill area of Slippery Rock Creek. Reports from the scene indicated that two teenage males from the Ellwood-Wampum area had gone swimming in the creek, and that one had gone under and not resurfaced.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 fell from the sky in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard. Many are speculating that Russian rebels (supported by Vladimir Putin) are responsible for downing the aircraft. What do you think?

Yes. All evidence points that way.
No. Everyone is so quick to point fingers, but there's not enough evidence to support claims of Russian guilt.
I'm not sure. I'll just wait until the investigation is over to make up my mind.
What is up with these Malaysian Airlines planes? I know one airline I won't be flying any time soon...
     View Results