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Lawrence County judge rules Jordan Brown killed his father's pregnant fianc'

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Friday, April 13, 2012
 

A Lawrence County judge today convicted a boy of juvenile charges that he fatally shot his father's pregnant fianc?.

Judge John Hodge's ruling that Jordan Brown is delinquent • the juvenile court equivalent of a guilty verdict in adult court • means authorities can keep the boy detained until his 21 st birthday.

Brown, 14, has been held in an Erie detention center since shortly after the February 2009 shotgun killing of Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, and her unborn child. Police said Brown, then 11, shot Houk in the head as she lay in bed in the family's New Galilee home, then got on a bus and went to school.

Police initially charged Brown as an adult, but his lawyers successfully argued to move the case to juvenile court. Only relatives of Brown and Houk were allowed in the New Castle courtroom during three days of testimony this week.

State prosecutors called more than a dozen witnesses, said Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony J. Krastek. Defense attorneys called three witnesses, including the boy's father, Chris Brown and a former boyfriend of Houk who police questioned the day of the killing.

Before Hodge announced his ruling, friends and family on both sides of the case gathered outside the county courthouse, most filing in solemnly and without comment.

Some of Houk's supporters formed a circle and prayed in the courtyard in front of the building.

Defense attorney John Elisco entered shortly after 1 p.m. "I'm a little bit nervous, but, you know, just waiting to see if the judge does the right thing."

Krastek entered about 1:30 p.m., but said nothing except that he was feeling "good."

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