By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Jordan Brown, who was just 11 when he was charged with killing his father’s pregnant fiancee, will be tried as a juvenile, a Lawrence County judge ruled Tuesday, ending more than two years of uncertainty about how the boy’s high-profile case would be handled.
Transferring the case to juvenile court “will serve the public interest” because Jordan is “amenable to treatment, supervision and rehabilitation as a juvenile,” Common Pleas Judge Dominick Motto wrote in his decision.
The ruling means Jordan, who turns 14 this month, will face the equivalent of a trial before a judge, rather than jurors. That could happen as soon as next month, said Dennis A. Elisco, one of the boy’s attorneys. Prosecutors say Jordan fatally shot Kenzie Houk, 26, with a 20-gauge shotgun as she slept in their New Beaver farmhouse in February 2009. Her unborn son, who was nearly full term, also died.
Jordan can no longer be tried in adult court, where if he had been convicted of first-degree murder, he would have been the youngest person in the country to serve a life sentence in prison without parole. If he is found delinquent in juvenile court, the state cannot incarcerate him beyond his 21st birthday.