Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adult? I Don't Think So ...

by Kathryn Casey

Okay, there's no argument; if the facts being
reported in the press are true, Jordan Brown committed a horrendous act. He allegedly lay in wait with a shotgun, covering it with a blanket. While his stepmother, eight and a half months pregnant, lay in bed, Jordan aimed at her head and pulled the trigger. Afterward, authorities say he picked up the shell casing and disposed of it, throwing it away as he walked to the school bus from their western Pennsylvania farmhouse.

I'm not usually an apologist. I believe people need to be held responsible for their actions. Still, sometimes there are mitigating circumstances. In this case, however, I haven't seen reports that Jordon's step-mom, 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk, did anything to provoke the attack. Certainly the male fetus Houk carried had done nothing wrong. (That's a photo of their funeral on the right below.) Jordan's motive: the one being bantered about is jealousy.

So what's my problem with the case? Sure Brown's young, but isn't the crime more than heinous enough to make the Pittsburgh judge's decision to try him as an adult the right one? If the facts prove true, doesn't Jordan Brown deserve a first-degree murder charge and a possible life sentence without the possibility of parole?

Not in my opinion. Why? Because Jordan Brown was eleven at the time of the February 20, 2009, killing.

Does anyone involved with this case truly believe that an eleven-year-old is an adult? Have they ever had children? Do they interact with children? Come on folks, eleven is eleven, seven years younger than eighteen. It's sixth grade. We're talking about the quarterback on the pee wee football team. The boy hadn't even been to middle school yet.

Chronologically, Jordan was seven years from legally becoming an adult on the day he is supposed to have pulled the trigger. Psychologically, his mind is indisputably that of a child. He hasn't even made it to adolescence. He hasn't had adult experiences, doesn't have the advantage of the learning that comes with aging. Currently the system is doing the right thing, housing Jordan in a juvenile facility. He needs to be tried in the juvenile courts as well. Why? Because that's what he is.

Disagree? Go stand out on the street and watch the kids in your neighborhood walk to school. Pick out the eleven year olds, and remember what it's like being a little kid. If authorities are right and Jordan Brown murdered his step-mom and unborn step-brother, that's truly a horrible tragedy. Does he deserve to be punished? Absolutely. But does he deserve to be judged as an adult? Not in my opinion. And not in the opinion of Jordan's dad, Chris Brown.

Jordon Brown was eleven years old on that fateful day. He still wasn't sure, according to his father, if Santa Claus existed. Despite the understandable fury over his alleged crimes, the boy needs to be treated fairly, judged for what he is: a child.


Leah said...

There is a lot of disparity in our society and in the penal system. How did 18 even become the legal adult age? And even then they don't totally get all the rights & privlidges afforded to older adults such as drinking. How can we have statutory rape with a consenting 15 year old because she is deemed not old enough to make that decision yet [and even though biologically she is ready] someone younger murders a parent and they can be held accountable as an adult. We need to decide which way to go and apply it to everyone equally. A 15 [or younger] year old shouldn't be deemed an adult in one situation but not another.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely agree. At that age no way he realized the depths of what he did. What he was doing was FOREVER. He may have had a concept. But you are right, he is a child. Children should be tried as such.

I never understood the whole thing about well the crime was so bad that he must be tried as an adult. Since when did children doing bad things made them an adult? It is children doing bad things.

Cyndi said...

This is a horrible tragedy that I had not heard about before I read this post. Something is terribly wrong with this boy and there has got to be a lot more to what was going on in that home. And I agree with you 100%, he is a child.

My 11 year old son just started middle school this year. One minute he is too cool to be seen with me in public, talking about his "girlfriend" and the next he's playing with cars in the sandbox with his little brother.

Anonymous said...

This "child" may occupy a child's body, but, his thought processes are of an adult. This was too well planned and calculated. There are bad seeds in this world. I believe he'll be far worse when he gets out of seven yrs.

Kathryn Casey said...

I don't believe that, Anon directly above. I'd have to hear that from a forensic psychologist who had actually examined the kid. My guess is that the prosecutor is right and Jordan was jealous over his father's attention being taken away from him. He wanted the stepmother and the expected baby to go away. But did he truly understand what he was doing?

At that age, how could he have understood as an adult would the consequences of his actions? He was eleven. He was/is a child.

Anonymous said...

12:53 anon - trying him as an adult means he will not just get out of juvie, they will transfer him to prison for the rest of his life when he turns 18.

Kathryn Casey said...

Thanks for pointing that out anon 1:49. I missed that. Yes, it's true anon 12:53. If he's tried as an adult, he won't go to juvie and he won't be out at eighteen. He may, in fact, end up spending much of the rest of his life in prison.

Anonymous said...

Jordon Brown is a child. He cannot be deemed an adult by any stretch of the imagination. Someone does need to find out why he did what he did, but trying him in a court of law as an adult is not the way to go about it.


piper said...

I too had a stepmother at 11 years old; my Mom died when I was very young. My stepmother hated me and I hated her. I had day dreams about killing her just to get her out of my life. I went as far as drawing a picture of her with a gun to her head, which she found and beat me within an inch of my life!

What saved me was thinking about prison. I told myself that I could continue suffering in the hell that was my home life for 7 more years - or - I could kill her and suffer the rest of my life in prison. I went for the lesser sentence of 7 years.

What I'm getting at is that some children have terrible home lives and want it to change so desperately that they don't think of the consequences or they may not know the consequences. I was lucky but I do know how a child could be driven to desperate behavior in a hopeless situation.

Jordon Brown is a CHILD that was possibly in a hopeless situation.

Sibby said...

There have been very good points of view already posted. I also was wondering about how this child knew enough to use a blanket to muffle the noise of the gun, and to get rid of the potential evidence (the casing). Where did he get that information from?

At age 11 he may not have known the true consequences of his actions, but there is so much not written about in just this blog.

Was there any realization or remorse after this? What was he like before this step-mother came into his life? Is there any chance this child could be a budding psychopath? I would hate to have him in juvie until 18 and then unleashed with major issues into society.

If no underlying pathologies are in existence, then definitely he should be tried as a child, because he is a child.

May I also add how tragic this is for all the family members, especially his father. He has lost his wife, unborn child, and in essence, his little boy.

Anonymous said...

The child says he didnt do it, the father says the child didnt do it. There may be more to this than we think.

Anonymous said...

An 11 year old child may have a knowledge of right and wrong and that shooting a gun at someone's head is wrong, BUT an 11 year old child also has a brain that is not fully developed. The parts of the brain that can problem-solve, anticipate long-term consequences of one's actions, and resist impulsive behavior are NOT developed at age 11. This is why we don't allow children to drink alcohol until age 21. This 11 year old boy is a child in need of serious help, but he should NOT be tried as an adult if he does not have an adult's mental capabilities.

Anonymous said...

Sibby has brought up some good points. I think there is more to it.

I agree that an eleven year old is child and unable to make adult decisions but by that age he knows shooting someone in the head is wrong.

I would have to defer to the experts on this one but I don't think he should go unpunished.

Kathryn Casey said...

This is such a tragic case. Really a great discussion. Impressive points being made. I wonder where this case will lead us. More to come, it appears. Does anyone know what the father is saying happened?

QE said...

I feel that at 11 years old, the kid is still a kid. He may have come up with the idea of silencing the shotgun blast through watching too much TV. I myself have a 10 Y/O and there is no way that her thought process includes action/reaction until after the deed is done. He may have killed his stepmom in a jealous fit of emotion, but did he REALLY think it through? Absolutely not. Kids at that age act on their impulses, and don't really think about the consequences. The court allows jealous lovers who commit murder to use the "Crime of Passion" defense, that they didn't think it out thoroughly before acting, then why wouldn't they allow a child of 11 to use the same defense?

I am by no means condoning nor shrugging off what this child has done, it was wrong, and heinously so. He should be tried, and sent to jail. A juvenile jail. Then, he should be psychologically re-examined when he is 18, then, and only then, should he be deemed worthy or not to enter an adult's prison, or to be sentenced to a mental health facility. An 11 y/o's thought process is not triggered by thoughts of "what will happen if.." they are based solely on their emotions at the time of the event that takes place. He wanted to kill his stepmom, so he did. I don't, for one minute, believe that he thought it through. My thought would be, how did he have access to the shotgun in the first place? Aren't we, as adults, supposed to keep those things out of our children's reach? Should the father be charged with anything? Could he have stopped this from happening by simply locking up the shotgun, out of the child's reach? Should he be tried as an accessory, since the gun was too easily accessible? Could he have stopped this by simply talking with his son, and explaining that he loved him totally and that a new baby would never change that? Nor would having a new stepmom change his love for him?
As a child of divorced parents myself, I undertand the jealousy that can be created when your parent remarries. I lived it, felt it, and acted upon it myself. I was a rotten child until I realized that my mother was happy, and that she still loved me no matter what. That was my AHA! moment. I did everything in my power to force my stepdad out of my mom's life. I didn't resort to murder, but then again, I wasn't exposed to the type of situations that a child of these times can view on TV, or through video games. Modern times create modern problems.
What I'm saying, is that this boy is still a child, and should be charged, tried, and sentenced as such.

Anonymous said...

Great points,QE, but a sociopath does not think like normal people. If this child is a sociopath he killed to get rid of the person he didn't want in his life. And if it worked once for him, it will work again. So regardless of age, IF he is a sociopath society must be protected.

Anonymous said...

QE, you make very valid points. I hope that those in charge of investigating this case look at all the angles.

I wouldn't want this boy to languish in prison all his life if there is hope to rehabilitate him, but I wouldn't want him living near me if that is not the case.

QE said...

Sociopathology doesn't know and age limit. The Law does. He's 7-8 years away from becoming a legal adult. Which is why I feel he should be tried as a juvenile, then re-examined when he turns 18, just to see where his thinking is. Maybe they're trying to do this so his crime will forever stay on his record and not be expunged when he turns 18.

I can't say I would want this child living near my family either, to tell the truth. Still, he's a child and maybe if he were 15 or even 16 then he could be charged as an adult, as he is closer to obtaining that status, and more well-equipped to deal with his emotions.

Anonymous said...

It seems to be that no many people know all the facts, most of them are told in Wondervogel diary by Dan dailey you can find it in google but I'll tell you some of them. There is evidence that shows that the murder weapon is a handgun not jordan's shotgun, the hole in the blue blanquet turned out to be an old burn cigarrete. there wasn't any gunpowder on jordan's body not even the enough amount of gunpowder on Jordan's T shirt as to have shot a shotgun. Jordan Brown didn't kill Kenzie Houk, jordan is been claiming his innocence all along, not because he doesn't want to take responsability but because he is innocent. and he doesn't feel remorese for the same reason. Why he should feel remorse for something he didn't do? 2 months before Kenzie was murdered she had been receiving death threats from her ex-boyfriend, who had restrictions orders on file and was in a fight with Kenzie for the paternity of her youngest child, and eventually learned the child wasn't his (now that could be a motive for murder, don't you think?). Kenzie ex-boyfriend confessed in a party in front of his friends while he was drank and in tears that he had killed his ex-gilfriend. But now, I'm not telling you that you have to believe me, but please have a look at Dan Dailey wondervogel diary and see it for yourself. You should read all the diary through since not all that he rights is about Jordan, and read as well the comments, some good information is said there too.
I believe in Jordan's innocence and I will always tell Jordan brown is innocent.

Anonymous said...

Save Jordan Brown