Jordan Brown, an 18-year-old convicted in 2009 at the age of 11 for killing Kenzie Houk, his father’s pregnant fiancée, was released Monday from a juvenile detention center in Pennsylvania. The mother of two from a previous relationship was eight months pregnant when he fatally killed her with a 20-gauge shotgun as she lay in bed.
As the New York Daily News reports, the family of Kenzie Houk, who was murdered when she was just 26, confirmed the news after a juvenile court hearing that was not open to the public.
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Her mother, Debra Houk, revealed that the family was upset with the decision of the Lawrence County judge and the way the case had being handled.
She said, “It’s been seven years, and nothing’s been done. He hasn’t admitted to anything…this is too much. I’m done.”
Brown was found “delinquent,” which is a term used in Pennsylvania courts to describe a juvenile found guilty. The conviction was overturned by a Pennsylvania Superior Court, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court later knocked out the superior court’s ruling. In 2015, Brown’s lawyers asked a judge to drop the charges against him or pencil him down for a new trial. The judge refused, and only last month, the Brown’s legal team had again, in a superior court, pushed for an outright dismissal or a new trial before a judge agreed to release him.
The Lawrence County judge released Brown into the custody of a relative in Mahoning County, Ohio, saying that he would be on parole until the age of 21 and during that time would not be allowed back into Lawrence County, Pennsylvania.
Debra Houk said she did not feel safe despite being in a different state and would be looking to move soon.
“My granddaughters—now 11 and 15—shop there. That is only 20 minutes from my home. I don’t want them accidentally running into him over there. I’d be more comfortable if he was not close to Pennsylvania.”
Brown recently graduated from high school and has spoken about wanting to attend college in western Pennsylvania.
Debra Houk says she has let go of the pain and grief that he has caused her family, adding that she was tired of hearing how well he was doing. She pointed out that the American court system had failed her granddaughters because no one had done anything for them. Instead, they were concentrating their efforts on a murderer, helping him change his name, pay for his college education, and settle down into a new life.
According to court records, Brown hid a 20-guage shotgun under his blanket, crept into Houk’s bedroom, and killed her because he was angry that her newborn would be moving into his room. Brown’s father, Chris, was at work when the killing took place. Police were called in when Houk’s youngest daughter, who was 4 at the time, had run out of the house screaming that her mother was dead.
Brown was arrested less than 24 hours after the shooting incident and initially charged with two counts of first-degree murder as an adult because of the brutality of the shooting. But his defense team successfully pushed the transfer of his case to a juvenile court, where he was deemed a delinquent and sentenced to the facility until he was 21.
Pressures from Brown’s attorneys have made the Supreme Court vacate the ruling and let him out early. His lawyers had always argued that there was not enough evidence to convict him of the killing. Brown has never admitted to the killing even though police and prosecutors say all the evidence points to Jordan.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]