Since yesterday afternoon, this blogsite has experienced an extraordinary amount of traffic, apparently from people seeking more in-depth news on Jordan Brown’s release. I’m sorry to say that I cannot offer more than this cryptic article which appeared in the local paper in New Castle, which leads me to wonder if Lawrence County PA will ever be held responsible for this miscarriage of justice and the loss of Jordan’s childhood.
Jordan Brown released from juvenile detention
by Eric Poole, The Ellwood City Ledger
June 13, 2016
After almost seven and a half years in juvenile detention, teenage murder suspect Jordan Brown was released Monday after a scheduled dispositional hearing.
Brown, 18, was accused in the February 20, 2009, murder of Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, at the New Beaver residence where Houk lived with Jordan Brown’s father, Christopher. At the time of her death, Houk was engaged to marry Christopher Brown and was in her final month of pregnancy with his son. Her fetus did not survive.
After several postings on social media announcing Brown’s release, Kenzie Houk’s mother, Debbie Houk, confirmed the information. Debbie Houk was outside the courtroom during the disposition hearing Monday.
Dennis Elisco, one of Brown’s attorneys, said that there was an agreement between the defense, Lawrence County Juvenile Probation and the state Attorney General’s office, which prosecuted the case. Elisco did not confirm Brown’s release because of juvenile hearing confidentiality requirements, but called the outcome “favorable.”
Elisco said Brown would continue to have periodic disposition hearings, but the agreement Monday effectively ends a criminal proceeding that lasted seven years and attracted worldwide attention.
Brown was 11 years old when he was charged with the deaths of Kenzie Houk and her fetus. He was to have been tried as an adult, but the prosecution was moved into juvenile court in 2011 after two years of appeals by the defense team, which then included attorney David Acker, now a Lawrence County judge, with Elisco.
More recently, Beaver County-based attorney Stephen Colafella has worked with Elisco on the defense.
After a juvenile trial in April 2012, Brown was found delinquent—the equivalent of a guilty verdict in adult court—but defense attorneys contested the ruling on weight-of-evidence grounds. The state Supreme Court upheld the appeal in 2014 and allowed the defense to request a new trial.
In 2015, Lawrence County Judge John Hodge, who issued the 2012 delinquency finding, denied the new trial request. The defense was in the process of appealing that finding—a hearing was held last month before a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel—when the agreement was reached Monday.
Elisco said Brown had been scheduled for a dispositional hearing later this year, but the session was rescheduled because Brown had graduated last week from a high school in the state juvenile probation system and was planning to attend college.
Eric Poole is a staff writer for the Ellwood City Ledger. Since the age of 30, he has received more than 30 regional, statewide and national journalism awards, including a first-place Keystone Award in 2008 for selected columns from The Ledger.
96° Partly Cloudy and Rain