While most people are dreaming of a White Christmas, Jordan Brown is looking forward to the nightmare of spending a second Christmas in detention for a crime he did not commit, and with no clear timeline in sight for a chance to be exonerated and returned to his anguished father. For Jordan, this will be a very blue Christmas, indeed.
Thanks to research by Matt Stroud of the Innocence Institute of Point Park University and an excellent story released yesterday (at http://innocenceinstitute.org/uncategorized/a-question-of-responsibility/), for the first time the name of Kenzie Houk’s former boyfriend, Adam Harvey, has finally been made public, as well as other information in Kenzie’s own words about how Harvey had “left several messages threatening to hurt me and my family. I am in fear of him hurting me physically or my family. He has a drinking problem that is uncontrollable. He has threatened to hire someone to hurt me several times.”
What Matt did not disclose in his story is the reason that Harvey was mad enough at Kenzie to threaten to hire someone to hurt or murder her: that they had been involved in a bitter paternity and child support dispute, and after having submitted to DNA testing—and after having supported his “daughter” financially for some time—Harvey discovered the child was not his after all. Matt’s story did not question why the police would have failed to investigate this motive (while they had no evidence of motive for Jordan), nor why they accepted Harvey’s alibi and did not investigate whether he had, in fact, hired someone to hurt Kenzie as he’d allegedly threatened.
I imagine that Adam Harvey’s Christmas will be so much better than Jordan’s. I can only imagine that he is relieved that the police did not investigate his reported drunken and tearful admission to one of his friends at a party that he’d killed his girlfriend. He’s probably grateful that the curiosity of no one in the media was aroused about why he of all people should have been seated with the Houk family at one of Jordan’s courtroom hearings.
Former trooper Janice Wilson will be having a better Christmas than Jordan, too. She must be happy that she was promoted to the rank of corporal after having garnered so much publicity for having collared an 11-year-old child within 24 hours of the crime. Now that she has retired from the state police, she must be happy she can collect a pension while also collecting a salary in her new job as an investigator for Child Protective Services. She must be pleased that her presumed coercion of an incriminating witness statement from Kenzie’s daughter has not yet been exposed. And she must be happy, too, that the media has not yet picked up on the story told in the halls of the Lawrence County courthouse about her role in the wrongful conviction of Hank Kimball for 1994 murders that he, like Jordan, did not commit.
Even former prosecutor John Bongivengo will be having a better Christmas than Jordan. Now that he knows that all the physical evidence upon which he based his charges against Jordan has come back from the crime lab clearing Jordan, Bongivengo must be relieved that he will not have to prosecute the case with only a coerced witness statement and courtroom theatrics to rely upon.
But the person who will be having the best Christmas of all is governor-elect and Attorney General Tom Corbett, whose protection of incompetent police and his office’s “tough on crime” prosecution of a bogus case helped win him higher office. Now that he will be moving on to the governor’s mansion, and because he was careful not to become personally associated with the Jordan Brown case, he is probably imagining that his Teflon qualities will protect him even if the truth of Jordan’s innocence and wrongful imprisonment are established in court. He can always claim he didn’t know.
All these nasty adults will be having a good Christmas at the expense of an innocent child whose life they have permanently changed and scarred, regardless of the eventual outcome when the case finally goes to trial. In February Jordan will have been locked up for two years—an eternity in his short young life, and an eternity for his father, too.
Groove of the Day