Beaver County, Pennsylvania on February 20th of 2009
Jordan Brown had been just 11 years old when he was arrested for the shooting death of his father’s fiance. It’s said that the fifth grader shot 26 year old Kenzie Marie Houk in the back of the head as she lay sleeping, then he went to school as if nothing had happened. The woman had been 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with a baby boy at the time of her death. As Kenzie’s 7 year old had gone to school that day as well, only the four year old had remained at home; some time after her mother had been shot, the child ventured out in search of help. The girl found some tree cutters who notified the police.
Though Jordan has always denied that he’d played any part in Kenzie’s murder, investigators believed otherwise. They said that the boy had not only been jealous of Kenzie’s relationship with his father, Chris, but also envious of Kenzie’s two daughters, 7 year old Jenessa, and 4 year old Adalynn, and of his new baby brother to come. It was believed that the mom to-be was killed with a youth model Harrington & Richardson 20-gauge shotgun which Chris had gifted Jordan on either Christmas or Easter; father and son had often gone shooting together. No blood or DNA was ever found which could positively link Jordan to the murder, but spent shells had been discovered on the path which the 5th grader had taken to get to his school bus that morning, there’d been some residue on Jordan’s shirt, and investigators claimed that the boy’s shotgun which was found inside the boy’s bedroom had smelled like it had recently been fired.
Jordan was originally going to be tried as an adult, but due to his age and that absolutely pitiful mugshot people everywhere went a little crazy over this; Amnesty International even took up his cause. Many of his supporters believed Jordan to be completely innocent; some thought that Jordan’s father, Chris, may have been the one who’d shot Kenzie and set his young son up to take the fall. Father Chris had remained rather tight lipped throughout it all, which only brought about more suspicion on his part. Eventually Jordan was granted transfer to a juvenile court where was found guilty and sentenced to remain in custody until his 21st birthday; had Jordan been tried as an adult, it’s very possible he would’ve received life without parole.
The boy did very well while incarcerated, he received an education and stayed out of trouble, but he never would admit to having played any role in the murder; this was often construed as lack of remorse. Then, at the age of 18 Jordan’s conviction was overturned due to lack of evidence and reasonable doubt as to whether Jordan’s shotgun had truly been the murder weapon. The young man was released from prison, and today he seems to be doing pretty well, with all things considered; there has been talk of a retrial, but it doesn’t appear as though this is gonna happen. Of course Kenzie’s family believes that Jordan is plain evil and he should remain in custody; can you blame them?
Jordan’s father, Chris, has only recently broken his silence. When asked if his son should be retried, Chris stated that he hopes investigators will search for the real killer now so that Kenzie’s family can finally have some closure.
What do you think of this case? Do you believe Jordan guilty? And, if we do assume that he was the one to pull the trigger, what do you think the penalty for an eleven year old murderer should be? Should a child this young be given a second chance?