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Judge Reconsiders Whether Teen Should Be Tried As Adult

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — A judge in Lawrence County is once again considering whether a teenager who’s accused of killing his father’s pregnant fiancée should be tried as an adult or a juvenile.

Jordan Brown was just 11-years-old when police say he shot Kenzie Houk, 26, in the back of the head with a shotgun back in February of 2009. Houk was nearly nine-months pregnant when both she and her unborn baby died.

In January, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court met in Pittsburgh to hear from both sides as to whether or not Brown should stand trial as adult.

The Superior Court had questions about whether Brown’s Fifth Amendment rights to self incrimination had been violated during an interview with a psychiatrist.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the procedure that determined Brown should be tried as an adult was legally flawed because the judge used Brown’s refusal to accept responsibility for the crime as a factor in the ruling.

In June, Lawrence County Judge Dominick Motto ordered another hearing on the issue.

At the time, defense attorney Dennis Elisco, said he was pleased the judge had reconsidered his previous ruling, while prosecutor Anthony Krastek said it was still too early to speculate as to whether the prosecution would accept a deal to try Brown as a juvenile.

Another hearing was held today on the issue.

Testimony from a key prosecution witness has been thrown out.

“I think it’s pretty obvious what the answer to that is – that we’ve met our burden and this case is going to be transferred to juvenile court,” said Elisco. “So, it’s a good day for the defense.”

But the prosecution still argues Brown should be tried as an adult.

“You have to show some kind of plan that could treat what happened here; the underlying factors that caused this child to do that,” said Krastek. “To say that his problem is that he’s away from home, doesn’t really address the murder of two people.”

After the hearing, sheriff’s deputies had to step in and separate the two families outside the courthouse because there was shouting during an emotional outburst.

Judge Motto is expected to issue his decision in the next few weeks.

RELATED LINKS/STORIES:
”Hearing Held In Case Of Boy Accused In Father’s Fiancée’s Death” (6/8/11)
”Jordan Brown Decertification Hearing Goes To Common Pleas Court” (3/11/11)
”Appeal Hearing Held In Jordan Brown Case” (1/25/11)
More Coverage Of This Case
More Coverage Of This Case
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