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Doctor: Adolescent murder suspect can't be rehabilitated

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Twelve-year-old Jordan Brown is not amenable to treatment because he refuses to take responsibility for his actions and exhibits potentially dangerous behavior, according to a psychiatrist who testified in New Castle today.

Brown is charged with two counts of homicide for the Feb. 20, 2009, shooting deaths of his father's pregnant fiancee, Kenzie Marie Houk and her unborn child. Police say he placed a shotgun to the back of Houk's head as she lay in bed in the family's New Galilee home, shot her and then left the house to get on the school bus.

Today's hearing will decide whether Brown is tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Dr. John S. O'Brien II, a lawyer and psychiatrist from Philadelphia, interviewed Jordan Brown at an Erie juvenile facility on Feb. 24 of this year. O'Brien said Brown was evasive, pretended not to understand questions and has a history of refusing to take responsibility for his actions.

"He tends to avoid taking responsibility (which) complicates his amenability to rehabilitation because in order to be rehabilitated, you have to take to take responsibility for your behavior," O'Brien said. "He is not even able to take that first step."

Defense attorney Dennis Elisco dismissed the prosecution's argument as "ridiculous."

"According to them, the only way Jordan can be treated is if he admits to the crime. That makes no sense. It's illogical," Elisco said.

The hearing began in January, but was continued to allow lead prosecutor Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony J. Krastek to send someone to Erie to analyze Brown.

Common Pleas Judge Dominick Motto has until April 1 to issue a ruling.

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