UPDATE 4: Jordan Brown
JUDGE RULES THAT JORDAN BROWN SHOULD BE TRIED AS JUVENILE
from the article by Eric Poole – The Beaver County (PA) Times
In his second turn at ruling whether a teenage murder suspect would be tried as an adult or a juvenile, Lawrence County President Judge Domenick Motto found that most of the defense’s claims went uncontested.
In a ruling issued Tuesday afternoon, Motto determined that Jordan Brown, a former New Beaver resident, will be tried as a juvenile. Brown, who turns 14 on Tuesday, is accused in the Feb. 20, 2009, murder of 26-year-old Kenzie Houk.
When the killing occurred Brown was 11, and Houk was engaged to his father, Christopher. Houk was pregnant with a child who would have been Jordan Brown’s half-brother. The unborn boy also died. Jordan Brown was charged with the murder on Feb. 21, 2009, and has been in custody ever since.
Under state law, Brown was presumed to be an adult pending a legal action known as decertification. Motto’s ruling to uphold the decertification petition moves the case to juvenile court, which means Brown can’t be imprisoned beyond August 2018, when he turns 21, if he is found guilty.
Had Brown been convicted as an adult, he would almost certainly have been sentenced to life in prison with no possibility for parole.
The state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, did not respond to telephone and e-mail requests seeking comment, and a phone message left with Kenzie Houk’s family went unreturned.
Motto’s decision ends the public phase of Brown’s prosecution, because juvenile legal actions are sealed in Pennsylvania.
State law calls for a detention hearing within 72 hours of the ruling to determine whether Brown will remain incarcerated, but Acker said the defense would waive that hearing and that Brown will remain at the Edmund Thomas center in Erie County, where he has been held since March of 2009.
At some point in the near future, Brown will face a dispositional hearing, the long-delayed trial to determine his innocence or guilt. There are time limits for dispositional hearings as well, but Acker said the defense would waive those provisions as well because of the case’s complexity.
Tuesday’s ruling ended a decertification process that took nearly two years to complete. In January and February of 2010, Motto heard testimony from defense and prosecution witnesses on whether Brown should be prosecuted in juvenile or adult court.
Child and youth psychologist Kirk Heilbrun, the defense expert, testified that he examined Brown and found the boy to be a strong candidate for rehabilitation and a low risk for committing crimes if he were released.
Psychologist John O’Brien, testifying for the prosecution, said Brown displayed an unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions — as demonstrated by his assertions of innocence in Houk’s murder — and that Heilbrun’s assessment that Brown was a low risk for criminal acts came from an assumption that Brown was not the killer.
Under cross-examination by Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek, the prosecuting attorney, Heilbrun admitted that Brown’s risk of offending upon his release would increase if he were guilty.
Based largely on O’Brien’s testimony, Motto ruled in March of 2010 that Brown’s prosecution would remain in adult court. But the defense team of Acker and Dennis Elisco appealed the decision to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
In a 2-1 vote, with former Pittsburgh police chief and Allegheny County District Attorney Judge Robert Colville dissenting, a three-judge Superior Court panel ruled that Motto’s decision violated Brown’s Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination.
The ruling also all but invalidated O’Brien’s testimony, which established that Brown’s unwillingness to admit guilt made him a less than ideal candidate for rehabilitation.
In a hearing earlier this month before Motto, the defense team resubmitted the testimony of Heilbrun and staff at the Thomas center from January of 2010, while Krastek withdrew O’Brien’s testimony and relied on the assertion that the burden of proof in a decertification is on the defense and that Acker and Elisco failed to meet the evidentiary standard.
Instead, Acker said the absence of O’Brien’s testimony left Heilbrun’s assertions, along with statements from Thomas center staffers that Brown is responding well to treatment, unchallenged and ruled to place Brown’s prosecution in juvenile court.
Elisco, who spoke Wednesday with Christopher Brown, said he was relieved by the outcome, although Acker said that relief is laced with sorrow.
“The man has been under horrific strain since this happened,” Acker said of Jordan Brown’s father. “People forget how much this man has lost.”
I’m sure the Brown family and their supporters are wearing themselves out patting each other on the back over Judge Dominic Motto’s decision to reverse himself and rule that Jordan Brown should be tried as a juvenile for the murder of Kenzie Houk and her unborn baby.
So now, no matter what happens at Brown’s trial, the worst that can happen to him is he’s held at a juvenile facility until he’s 21 years old, after which he will be released to the world with a spotless record.
To be honest, Judge Motto had little choice in the matter. When the Court Of Appeals ruled he couldn’t take the fact that Jordan refused to admit his guilt as a sign that he was a poor candidate for rehabilitation into his decision, it took the teeth out of prosecution’s argument. Couple that with Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek’s decision not to challenge youth psychologist Kirk Heilbrun’s opinion that Brown is a good candidate for rehabilitation, and you can see that Judge Motto could only rule on the testimony he had in front of him.
I’ll tell you one thing though, my friends, there are people out there talking like this ruling somehow magically makes Jordan Brown less guilty of murdering Kenzie Houk with his little toy shotgun. I read one comment which stated something along the lines of feeling sorry for the Houk family because they watching Brown’s guilt “melt away”.
Now I assume one has to be quite lost in self delusion to really believe that nonsense. How does a ruling that Jordan Brown is a juvenile offender change the evidence against him? Does it make the things Kenzie’s then 7-year-old daughter saw and heard that morning suddenly go away? Does it take back the threats that Brown made against Kenzie, proving this was a premeditated murder? How about the wild goose chase he sent the State Police on, or his attempt to hide the spent shotgun shell – do these action not matter because “he’s just a kid”?
I’ve gotten my ass handed to me for saying this, but that has never stopped me from speaking my mind. I honestly believe Jordan Brown is a psychopath. His denial and complete lack of remorse – it all fits. But I wonder how much of who he has become is his fault – According to his biological mother, Mildred Krause, Jordan’s father Chris has a history of domestic violence and “stalking, controlling behavior”. She said he:
“threatened to break my neck (and) showed me his gun and permit and told me if I ever break up with him, he would kill me.”
“When I told him i was going back to Florida, he tore up my brother’s room. … He also tried running me off the road when I had the baby with me. … He told me if I ever broke up with him, he would kill me.”
Now if this is true, the question becomes, why would Krause leave Jordan in Chris Brown’s custody? Apparently prosecutors know the answer to that and will reveal it during trial.
I’m going to say this as clearly as I can – Jordan Brown is as guilty as homemade sin. He walked up to Kenzie Houk as she slept, pointed his 20 gage youth-sized shotgun at the back of her head, and executed her and the unborn, nearly full term child she was carrying. There is no question in my mind about this.
Meanwhile, as you can see in the second video, the Houks are victimized once again. There have been a small, persistent minority of Jordan Brown supporters who have not only forgotten about the suffering of Kenzie’s family, but have done immeasurable harm by demonizing them for wanting what every victim’s family wants. Justice.
But the worst things they have said about the Houks was condemning them for accepting Kenzie’s ex-boyfriend into the family. This act of kindness – forgiving this very imperfect man and allowing him to mourn Kenzie with them – was twisted into some sick relationship by people whose minds should be writing horror movie scripts, because the ex-boyfriend is their “real killer”.
Forget the fact that police cleared him on the very first day of the investigation. Let me describe the scenario: It had snowed the night before the murder, leaving a light coating of the white stuff on the ground in the morning. When detectives arrived at the crime scene, one of the first things they noticed was that there were no footprints leading to the house that could have been made by an intruder.
Kenzie’s ex was number one on the cops’ suspect list initially, mainly because he had recently found out that Kenzie’s youngest daughter wasn’t his biological child. Until then, he had believed all along that she was his daughter and supported the child emotionally and financially. He was, understandably, pretty pissed off, and made several threats against Kenzie’s life. She had also taken out a pair of protective orders against him.
So first stop for detectives that morning was our intrepid bad boy’s home, where the snow had another tale to tell. No footprints leading to his car, and no tire tracks indicating the car had been driven since the night before. So, unless our hero had somehow figured a low energy solution to anti-gravity, the ex-boyfriend was in the clear.
Now if I heard evidence like that, I’d probably start looking for a new patsy to pin my hopes on, but not our little group of deluded Free Jordan Brown supporters. The attacks on the Houks, and on this innocent man have never let up. It upsets me in a way only people who trash victims and their families can do, but I’ve come to understand that all I can do is respond to their lies, fabrications and half-truths with the facts I’ve gathered over the past two and a half years, and trust that most people are smart enough to know the difference between truth and lies.
We’ve picked up a lot of new readers since the HBO documentary on the Diane Schuler case aired at the beginning of this month. For you folks, I suggest you familiarize yourself with the original story about Jordan Brown (Click Here) and the three previous updates (Update 1) (Update 2) (Update 3). If you thought Diane Schulers’s supporters were out there, well….
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