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.


  1. in this world we are told there are rules (laws) we all must abide or answer however after determinding what age separates child from adults the very governments that holds you accountable decides at its pleasure when it can step outside its own boundries however attempt to extend the priviledges of adulthood as determind by the powers that be and well lots of luck
    the pope

  2. This story shocks the conscience. Both the homicide, how is it an 11 year old boy (because it's not clear how old Jordan was at the time of the act--)gets a shotgun and ammo, let alone free access to this weapon at his age. And how is it we toss out all common sense about what we know about children and their ability to form convictions about right and wrong. I am profoundly distrubed by this story.

  3. "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."

    What you fail to acknowledge or understand is that there is no "political" agenda at least where it involves the judge or prosector. Common pleas judges face a retention vote every 10 years. As for the prosecutor (Pa. refers to them as district attorneys), he has recused himself and the state attorney general's office is handling the case. Attorney General Tom Corbett is running for governor and his election results will be known sooner than this case's outcome.

    A few other items to consider if you take the time to research. Jordan was 11 at the time of the killing. His father taught him how to hunt with a shotgun. The purpose of hunting is to kill. This is not to suggest that the youth is guilty. However, if you are taught a skill at a young age and experience the results of what you are taught, then I would suggest your brain develops a little faster than your average nonhunting youth.

  4. Anon 11:13--

    Thank you for your post, and insights.

    I knew about PA "retention" votes, but I'm not sure your claim holds water as it pertains to the politics of the prosecution of this boy. In fact you have raised the stakes for the politicians involved!

    Furthermore, your claim about the "maturation" of a child that hunts, is ridiculous. How about something suporting your cliam?

    This was a ghastly act, the the act of an adult? Not a chance.

    That's my opinion.


  5. we are dealing with a child period i find there is no adverse effect on society giving this child the consieration the law by its own definition suggests be given children in the courts. i don't know the details of the parties involved in the courts where this act occured however the first two paragraphs in the post by anonymous contritict each other
    we would be foolish to think this does not have all the elements of a ping pong match guns broken home on and on put this kid in jail 25-30 years where will he be starting out in the middle of his life and then once again we fail ourselves the victim needs no justice she is is gods hands the child is in ours lets see what we can to set an example for the opportunity of all those stating their life in peril of no future
    this opinion is coming from someone that all that know me know me to be conservative XL
    however the future of us all and those that follow is not amatter for politics we need not claim we must set examples by showing the power we possess- that is known to throw this kid to the wolves at 11years old is extreme failure on our part

    the pope

    the pope