Monday, March 29, 2010
12 Year Old Adult
The boy in the picture is Jordan Brown of New Castle, Pennsylvania. Jordan committed the horrific act of killing his father's 26 year old, pregnant fiancee, Kenzie Marie Houk.
Jordan used a youth-sized shotgun his father gave him for hunting. After committing this act Jordan got on the bus with his soon to be 7 year old step sister and went to school. Judge Dominick Motto has decided that Jordan Brown should be tried as adult according to breaking news reports from the Associated Press.
A lenghty piece at the New Castle News website, examines in detail the act, and the evidence. Essentially this homicide appears to be a response by Jordan to being moved out of his space to make room for the imminent birth of his half-brother who also did not survive the shooting.
As horrible as this act is, I have a hard time believing a 12 year old child is able to form the mens rea (criminal intent) necessary to commit murder. We've talked about this in the past, a crime consists of two elements: criminal intent, and the act in furtherance of the criminal intent. Children are not tried as adults (at least North of the Mason Dixon line, usually) because we as a society of civilized men and women understand that the brains of children are not fully developed and are not capable of adult emotion, thought and motivations. The exception to this rule is when an act so overwhelms our senses that we lose all rational thought and we react like we've lost the capacity for rational thought--as in this instance. Or when our politicians in charge of the decision making have to stand for reelection.
The local horror over this shocking act must make it politically impossible for the Judge and prosecutor to do anything other than to take their shots at this unsympathetic child. Certainly Jordan is disturbed, let's hope a jury can see through the demagoguey and send this sad little creature to get the sort of psychiatric support he will need for the rest of his life. Chilling.