Posts Tagged ‘Jordan Brown

28
Mar
11

juggling

It’s four in the afternoon and only now am I able to dash off a few lines. I’ve been up since four in the morning working on a background document for Alex King’s attorney. I am juggling so many projects, I am surprised and thankful the day has been quiet enough for me to get this work done.

Last night Nicole Gingerich called and confirmed that Paul Henry knew nothing about last Friday’s low scores. She said he was shocked that they had been so bad they even included a couple zeros. Paul Henry said that Friday had been a normal, unremarkable day. He’d done nothing wrong as far as he knew. So it’s clear Friday’s scores were just the Pendleton guards showing mean muscle.

Paul Henry’s scores for the end of the day Saturday and all day Sunday came in last night and they were pretty much back to normal. “But remember,” my contact cautioned, “it’s the weekend and there’s a different crew on duty. Monday’s scores will tell the tale.” So we’ll see the story tonight when today’s scores are reported. Fingers crossed.

With all these balls in the air I realize I have not yet reported that I’ve received commitments from Diary readers for the full amount we were seeking for Chris Brown to help him cover the funeral expenses for his sister. It made my heart soar to hear his voice brighten when I called the day of the funeral to tell Chris that we had covered the amount in full. He wants me to tell everyone who helped how thankful he is for your generosity and kindness.

Thank you from me too. It all happened in a single day, and it has provided dramatic evidence to help me realize that we have created here a wonderful, compassionate community of care.

I’m pretty sure there are some checks for Chris waiting in my mailbox. However, I have not been able to get to the mail today because on Friday night my car’s thermostat housing cracked. My friend Dave came up to the house and diagnosed the problem and we ordered replacement parts over the Internet. Until the parts arrive and the car is repaired, I’m pretty much marooned here. No problem, though. I have plenty of food and water (and an unending supply of eggs) and my local friends have been wonderful about looking out for me.

Tomorrow my friend Andy is going to help me haul in about 500 gallons of water for my water tank, which has been empty since just before the cold snap of about two months ago. It will be nice to be able to use the tap again and stop watching the skies for signs of rain that never comes.

The above illustration, by the way, is by Holly’s and my old friend and renowned children’s book illustrator, Leonard Everett Fisher.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Bobby Vee (aka Vinton) performing “Rubber Ball”

25
Mar
11

story of job, revisited

When Chris Brown answered the phone the other day, I could tell right away from his voice that something was wrong. “Chris, are you still sick?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “my sister died Sunday night.”

Chris’ sister was Misti Brown Kirschner, age 36. Misti lived in New Castle, worked as a vendor at Heinz Field, and loved being with her friends and family.

The last time Chris and I had spoken was when the Superior Court ruling was announced. He told me then that Misti had been in intensive care for some time and that her condition was unchanged and still undiagnosed; she was being kept alive by technology. Nevertheless she was happy that the tide had begun to turn for Jordan.

By the time the doctors finally figured out that the cause of her condition was Swine Flu and had her airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, it was too late. Misti had endured a long and very difficult illness. She never recovered and passed away on March 20th.

“At least her suffering is over,” Chris said. Something in the way he said this gave the impression it was a practiced line, something he’d already used to reassure friends who are worried for his state of mind and health in the wake of yet another tragedy.

Chris said his mother Janice is coping but devastated.

Out of a population of 12.7 million in Pennsylvania, the flu had claimed only 39 lives through mid-February. What are the chances that another such death would strike Chris Brown and his family after everything they have already endured?

It is as if lightning has struck Chris multiple times.

Like the Biblical character Job, everything has been taken from the man. He has lost the woman he loved and their unborn child; he has lost the daughters he loved and fathered as if they had been his own; he has lost his employment and almost all his worldly possessions; his son Jordan has been taken from him, threatened with lifelong hopeless imprisonment, and both have been deprived of the comfort they might have provided one another through these two years of anguish.

Through it all, ugly hateful people have defamed and slandered him, threatened him (even with weapons), shunned him, stolen from him, insulted him, and incited total strangers against him. Through it all, his tormenters have been celebrated in the media, their hypocrisies overlooked, their characters unexamined, their motives and falsehoods unchallenged. If I were a believer in conventional religion, I could only conclude that Satan is up to the same evil designs as described in the Book of Job.

Over these last two years Chris and I have had many deep talks and, like Job, Chris has experienced innumerable lows bordering on despair; yet he has steadfastly remained true to his commitment to endure and always travel the “high road.” Chris is not a perfect man (God knows, he’s certainly had poor luck choosing women), but he is a good man who has always exercised remarkable patience and equanimity in the face of his trials—the “patience of Job.”

There are a lot of people who would prefer to believe that Chris’ ordeals are God’s retribution for some past wrongdoing or sins. There are a lot of people who would prefer to cast Chris as a latter day Joe Btfslk (Al Capp’s character in the “Li’l Abner” comic strip, a jinx, who was so unlucky that a tiny rain cloud followed him wherever he went). But these are all the same people who, despite all evidence to the contrary, believe life is fair. It isn’t—at least not on its own.

Like luck, fairness is something that we create in the ways we live and in the ways we treat others. If you believe life should be fair, you must be fair—otherwise fairness is just an empty platitude, wishful thinking, a sham, a self-delusion.

The other night I told Chris the same thing Holly and I told ourselves when her cancer had been diagnosed after fifteen years of dealing with multiple sclerosis: “At least you know you can deal with this. After everything you’ve been through, you can put this in perspective. It’s like you’ve been in training for this. You know it can’t break you.”

He agreed.

Yet in the next moment after I asked, he did tell me he doesn’t know how he and his mother will pay for Misti’s funeral expenses, he is so broke. The funeral director has given him a big break on the costs, yet he still needs to come up with about $1,500—a daunting amount given his present circumstances and the need to continue traveling to Erie each day to support Jordan through his ordeal.

“Would it be alright if I asked readers of the blog to help?” I asked. After a moment’s hesitation he said he would be happy for any help we might provide.

So this is what I suggest. If you want to help Chris, please leave a comment on today’s post to express your ability and willingness (I will keep your comment from posting publicly if you ask me to). I will get back to you by private e-mail with specific instructions. Gifts will need to be made to Chris directly by check or money order (not to Jordan’s trust fund and not to me). I will aggregate your contributions and forward them to Chris.

One person has already volunteered to send $500, so we are already a third of the way there. When you contact me I will be able to tell you how close to the goal we are or if it has been reached.

In the story of Job, God restored everything to Job (and more) that Satan had been allowed to take away to test Job’s faithfulness. I am hopeful that by assisting Chris in this time of need, we can demonstrate that God has not forsaken him and that this is the point beyond which things will begin improving for Chris, and that his family life and happiness will be restored.

Please help make this so and offer to help him today. Any size gift, even if it is very small, will make a huge impact. The funeral will be held this evening at 6:00 pm. I hope we will be able to give Chris some good news by then.

Thank you.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Anna Netrebko and Andrew Swait performing “Pie Jesu”

(from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Requiem)

24
Mar
11

esprit de corps

One of the most mystifying things about the Jordan Brown case is why the police never seriously pursued an investigation of Kenzie Houk’s former boyfriend Adam Harvey, the only character in this whole sordid affair with a known motive for seeing Kenzie dead.

It was Adam Harvey, after all, who had been engaged in a bitter paternity and child-support battle with Kenzie and who, after paying for the support of Kenzie’s youngest daughter Adalynn for years, discovered through DNA testing that Adalynn is not his daughter afterall—and that Kenzie had not been honest with him in more ways than one.

She had cheated him of his money and cheated on him by sleeping with another man. That’s blood-boiling, seeing-red motive. Why would the police ignore it?

And it was Adam Harvey who was the object of not one, but two PFA (protection from abuse) orders taken out against him by Kenzie in 2006 and 2008. These documents are public record and surely would have been accessed as a first step in any honest police investigation. Why then could the police overlook key statements made by Kenzie herself that:

(From the 2008 PFA regarding a February 3, 2008 incident)

“ADAM CALLED MY MOTHERS AND THREATENED TO TAKE MY WHOLE FAMILY OUT WHEN HE COMES TO TOWN. HE HAS 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. I HAVE BEEN TALKING TO SHENANGO POLICE AND THEY LISTENED TO THE MESSAGE ON MY MOTHERS CELL PHONE AND SUGGESTED TO ME TO GET A PFA.”

(emphasis added)

(And from the 2006 PFA regarding a May 26, 2006 incident)

“WE WERE ARGUING REGARDING MY NEICE THEN ADAM AND I STARTED TO ARGUE. I SAID SHUT UP AND ACT LIKE THE ADULT AND HE CAME INTO THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS COOKING AND THREW THE FOOD OUTSIDE AND STARTED TO ARGUE AGAIN. HE THEN THREATENED ME. I WENT TO LEAVE IN MY CAR AND HE TOOK THE KEYS; THREW THEM AT ME AND PUSHED ME AGAINST THE STEERING WHEEL. HE LEFT A BIG BRUISE ON MY FOREARM. ADAM ABUSES ALCOHOL AND DRINKS DAILY. HIS BROTHER SHOWED UP AND THREATENED ME AND THEY BOTH LEFT WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVED. THE POLICE SUGGESTED I GET A PFA.”

Elsewhere on the same form, Kenzie cited the following as prior incidents of abuse that Adam had allegedly committed against her: ”MENTAL ABUSE; THREATENING TO KILL ME OR HAVE ME KILLED BY HIS FRIENDS IN HILLSVILLE.

(emphasis added in both quotes)

Now, let us consider the timing of the murders in relation to Adam’s discovery from the DNA evidence that Kenzie had played him for a royal fool. According to what Chris Brown has told me, Adam discovered Kenzie’s infidelity and deception only a week or two before she and the baby were murdered. There was not even an opportunity for Adam to cool off. He must have still been boiling with rage on February 20th.

So why were the police so quick to dismiss Adam Harvey as a suspect? The police say that even though he’d returned to Newcastle from where he’d been living and working in North Carolina, Adam had a “solid alibi” on the morning of the murders because he was sleeping at his parents’ home on Boston Avenue and his truck was surrounded by newly-fallen snow. There were no tire tracks when the police arrived, and his father vouched for him.

Yet given his relationships with lowlife friends (and at least one family member who had threatened Kenzie), Adam certainly had the opportunity to hire someone or otherwise arrange with somebody to have Kenzie killed. His background report says he earns between $50,000 and $75,000 a year—so he probably had the means to pay. Everyone knows that such arrangements leave no snow tracks. Given the victim’s own assertion and belief that Adam could have hired a surrogate to do the hit, the police characterization of Adam’s alibi as “solid” is, by any reasonable judgment, an overstatement to say the least.

Why would the police have been so quick to back off?

And remember, more than a year ago Jordan’s lawyers received a tip that Adam had tearfully admitted to a friend at a party, “I killed my old girlfriend,” and this tip was passed on to police in writing—though more than a month later Trooper Jeffrey Martin, who was heading up the murder investigation, denied to reporters any knowledge of this letter which had been addressed to him. So what was really going on? Why did Trooper Martin apparently lie?

It was a mystery to me until last night when a reader sent me a clue which suggests there is much more to this story than one sees on the surface. This clue is an example of how eventually, given enough time and digging, the whole true story will eventually be revealed.

This reader’s e-mail began: “When they run into problems, sons of fathers with status are kept out of the news and courts. But I’ve never seen it at the expense of an eleven year old boy.

“This guy, who is in his sixties and lives at the same address as Adam J. Harvey (ex-boyfriend of Kenzie), is most  probably his father. If he is, take a look at who he is:

Detachment Listing and Detachment Officers / Department of Pennsylvania

Marine Corps League

http://www.pamcleague.org/mcldetoff.htm

New Castle Marines #788  (4/01/09)

Commandant: Charles Harvey / 506 Boston Ave / New Castle, Pa 16101 / (724) 654-7309

Sr. Vice Commandant: Ronald E. Jones / 1600 Grove Ave / New Castle PA 16101 / (724) 658-5448

Jr. Vice Commandant: David L. Thomas / 426 Fairgreen Ave / New Castle PA 16101 / (724) 654-1178

Judge Advocate: John P. Wherthey / 2414 Anne Dr / New Castle PA 16105 / (724) 652-7901

Jr. Past Commandant: Claude D.Shorts / 109 Germanski La / New Castle, PA 16102 / (724) 667-9422; Dan Chuey 132 S. Myers Ave / Sharon PA 16146 / (724) 699-6872

Adjutant: Richard W. Nonnemacher / 1201 Highland Ave, Apt #1 / New Castle PA 16105-2645 / (724) 657-8746

Paymaster: Gerald F. Kern / 414 E. Moody Ave / New Castle PA 16105 / (724) 652-4371

Chaplain: Emmett W. Shaffer / 315 Jones St / New Castle PA 16101 / (724) 652-9245

Sergeant-at-Arms: Fred Humphries / Conner School Road / Wampum PA 16157 / (724) 535-7243

“Now I understand why the police were so quick to accept the feeble alibi and drop Adam Harvey as a suspect. It may also explain why the media comments in PA are so negative; why the justice system in Newcastle is denying Jordan his rights; why Melissa had her posts on Topix deleted; why I had unusual difficulty–several times–posting to CBS Local Pittsburgh in response to a poster called “Dallas” who was knowledgeable, smooth, and polite—but adamant beyond reason considering his education (IMO), that Jordan was guilty. This news would explain much of what is happening to Jordan,” he said.

“It looks like the police and prosecution were not inept but something much worse.”

These are the reader’s conclusions, not mine. However, he has aroused my curiosity enough that I have initiated background checks on everyone connected with this Marine Corps League chapter. We will be looking for any connections whatsoever to the police, prosecutors, and other authorities in Lawrence County. We are using databases not available to the public and our cybersleuths and other investigators will keep digging until we discover the truth about exactly how this blatant miscarriage of justice has been engineered.

In time the truth will come out and any persons who are accessories to the murders and to the framing of an innocent child will be held to account. (Neither one is an insignificant crime, but a serious felony involving prison time.) If anyone knows something they are hiding, this is their last chance to come forward and avoid more serious consequences for themselves and their loved ones.

The Marines’ famous slogan is “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful), and signifies the dedication and loyalty that individual Marines have for “Corps and Country”, even after leaving the service. It is easy to see how loyalty between Marine veterans could become so personal that loyalty to Country, its laws and ideals, could become lost among drinking buddies—and we do know from the long line of DUI convictions in the public record that Charles Harvey and his sons have been heavy drinkers.

Now is the time for some sober reflection. This absurd story has played out far too long. It is time for grunts and civilians alike to be faithful to the truth and restore justice in Western Pennsylvania.

It’s time to wake up and heed what a wise champion of freedom named Voltaire once said: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to the Angels performing “My Boyfriend’s Back”

12
Mar
11

a ruling at last

Chris Brown called me last night. “Are you sitting down?” he asked. “The Superior Court ruling went in our favor.”

The State Superior Court waited until the end of the business day Friday to announce its ruling that Judge Motto’s earlier decision denying Jordan’s decertification as a juvenile based on Jordan’s failure to admit to the murders or express remorse did indeed deny Jordan’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The court remanded Jordan Brown’s decertification hearing back to the Lawrence County Common Pleas Court where Judge Dominick Motto will have another chance to get it right. This time he will not be permitted to consider the prosecution’s bogus argument that Jordan is not amenable to rehabilitation because he will not admit to a crime he did not commit or express remorse for alleged actions he never took.

I guess my reaction to this good news was not what Chris had been expecting. He had been high-fiving it with everyone since hearing the news.

“But what will you guys do when the prosecution argues that the seriousness of the crime demands an adult trial? Motto has already shown that he’s amenable to irrational reasoning. It’s inevitable that the prosecution will roll out the ‘adult crime, adult time’ argument. What if Motto’s ego prevents him from admitting he was wrong and he still rules against Jordan being tried as a juvenile?”

There was dead silence. “Hello, Chris, are you still there?”

He was.

Chris reminded me that we had satisfied all the statutory requirements for Jordan to have been decertified as a juvenile. He reminded me that Motto’s earlier ruling that Jordan would be tried as an adult rested entirely on the prosecution’s novel and erroneous argument that rehabilitation is impossible unless someone admits to a crime before guilt is even established or proved.

“Well, maybe this Superior Court ruling will give Motto the political cover to claim that his hands are tied, and he will do what he should have done in the first place,” I allowed.

We once again returned to high-five territory. It was wonderful hearing joy in Chris’ voice after two years of discouragement. I did not persist with my wet-blanket questions. I did not say that I have lost all faith in Motto’s integrity, and that I believe the judge is himself not amenable to rehabilitation.

(The next hearing will be held, maybe within just a few weeks, to determine whether Jordan will be tried as a juvenile or as an adult.)

I hope I’m wrong about Motto. Maybe the next hearing will go our way. I let Chris get back to his happy calls and to a well-deserved night of celebration.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Kool & The Gang performing “Celebration”

10
Mar
11

please help paul henry now

Setting up the mechanisms to facilitate help being provided to kids in crisis is always a little more complicated than I’d like.

Getting Jordan Brown’s website online was delayed by eight or nine months by his lawyers. Getting a bank account set up for Derek’s trust took three weeks for the bank to complete. Linking PayPal accounts to these kids’ bank accounts took much longer at first than it does now. I’m learning lots of things with experience, as are those with whom I’m working.

It’s been eleven days since Paul Henry Gingerich’s website went live, and finally we are now able to begin receiving gifts to support his legal and other needs. Slow and excruciating as it has been for me, this delay nevertheless represents progress.

We must become much better—not only faster—at responding to the needs of these kids. Too many children are being defended by someone’s divorce lawyer. Too many kids are being convicted in the media based only on a prosecutor’s allegations and without any information about the true background of a case. Too many kids’ lives are being ruined by the ignorance, inexperience, and negligence of adults who are supposed to be helping them. The futures of too many kids are being sacrificed to the self-interests of others.

Please take a moment now to return to Paul Henry’s website at www.freepaulhenrygingerich.com and give our newly-activated PayPal link a workout.

Thank you!

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to the Spencer Davis Group performing “Gimme Some Lovin’”

02
Mar
11

the right path

My day got off to a happy start with a phone call from a West Virginia woman named Diana to whom I had given Jordan’s address a couple weeks ago so she could write him. She was calling to tell me she’d received a letter from Jordan, and she was asking whether a certain book she is planning to send him would be appropriate.

Diana said Jordan told her he doesn’t enjoy his schooling at the detention center and that the only things he has to look forward to are his visitors and letters.

The thing that gave me such a lift was that Diana is finding such satisfaction and joy in her new relationship with Jordan. She told me that she and her brother had very difficult lives as kids and as a result, that her brother’s path had taken him down a fork that led to years in prison while her fork led to a life of helping others—mainly her own children and grandchildren, but now Jordan, who she calls “my boy.”

Her call could not have come at a better time for me. I had just spent the last few days preparing a funding proposal for a national initiative aimed at helping kids who are involved in the murder of a parent or close relative. I had devoted special care to building a case that children, families, communities, and society in general can learn much from (and improve through) these tragedies.

I had just put the finishing touches on the proposal when Diana called. Her call coming when it did affirmed the argument I had been crafting for days.

It is another coincidence which I take to mean that our parricide initiative is keeping me on the Guided Path.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Tracy Chapman performing the “At This Point In My Life”

19
Feb
11

overdue

Yesterday I received a call from Chris Brown encouraging me to contact one of Jordan’s lawyers about a longstanding disagreement I have had with the legal team about their approach to media relations. By any objective measure, their approach has been an unmitigated disaster, and there has been nothing I have been able to do in almost two years to get them to change course.

Even though my last phone call to Jordan’s lawyer had gone unanswered for more than three weeks, I agreed to place another call last night. “He promised he will call you back right away,” Chris assured me.

But he didn’t call back right away, and I was not surprised.

I have long since given up and moved on. The reason for my call three weeks ago—an opportunity to make an appearance on a major network news program—has probably evaporated in the intervening time. Yet as I pointed out to Chris, it probably makes little practical difference because so many such opportunities have already been squandered along the way. This one can’t make things any worse.

I will continue to proclaim Jordan’s innocence on this blog and will make necessary updates to Jordan’s website, but it is impossible for me to do any more to help as long as Jordan’s lawyers keep sandbagging efforts to get the truth out to the broader media.

There is a reason I have been the only person writing about Jordan’s innocence, and there is a reason my arguments have failed to achieve any traction in the mainstream media: the lawyers’ refusal to show the media documentary proof that the claims I have been making about the evidence are true.

From the beginning, Jordan’s lawyers have failed (or refused?) to see that the prosecution of this case has been political, and not merely legal. They have persisted in their conceit that Jordan’s exoneration and freedom can be won in the courtroom exclusively, regardless of whatever is happening in the court of public opinion. That they have been wrong has been amply proved by the prosecution’s outlandish tactics and arguments which reveal its sense of impunity—that it can get away with anything, no matter how absurd, untrue and unfair, in making its case. (For example, the interlocutory appeal to the Superior Court should never have been necessary.)

I am convinced that Jordan could have been released, and his name cleared, long before now had his case been aggressively advocated in the media from the beginning. Yet it has not, and is not, being so advocated and as a result will likely drag on and on for a long time to come.

In the meantime, poor Jordan will continue to waste away in detention and will continue to be an object of sick people’s misplaced hatred.

My personal consolation is that we have learned from this unfortunate state of affairs and have approached Paul Henry’s situation in an entirely different way. Paul Henry’s lawyer Monica Foster would never have signed on to our advocacy team had she not agreed wholeheartedly that the case should command a high profile in the media. Already—less than two months into our initiative—this aggressive strategy is proving its efficacy. I am guessing Paul Henry’s freedom will be achieved before Jordan’s.

The juvenile justice system almost everywhere in America is broken, and it makes as little sense to depend on lawyers to fix it as to rely on leeches in the treatment of disease.

A more rational and balanced approach is long overdue.

۞

Groove of the Day

Listen to Dixie Chicks performing “Long Time Gone”