Supreme Court to hear arguments in Lawrence County murder case

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday in the case of a teenager from Lawrence County who was ordered to be tried again after a lower court overturned his adjudication of delinquency in the killing of his father's pregnant fiancee.

The Attorney General's Office, which prosecuted the case, is seeking the appeal to the Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse a Superior Court decision that ordered a new trial for Jordan Brown.

Jordan was found delinquent in 2012, akin to a guilty verdict, in the 2009 shooting death of Kenzie Houk, 26, and her unborn baby.

Jordan, 11 at the time of the killing and tried as a juvenile, has always maintained his innocence, said his attorney Stephen Colafella. The Attorney General's Office could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

"Largely they're going to be seeking review of the Superior Court's remand of the case for a new trial," Mr. Colafella said. "Our position was that the trial court abused its discretion making the findings that it did ... The Superior Court agreed and the Commonwealth appealed."

The Superior Court cited numerous evidentiary issues, including that prosecutors did not account for a 45-minute window in which someone else could have entered the family's house.

Mr. Colafella said the defense also contests whether the shotgun recovered was really the murder weapon used,among other evidence.

"There are a variety of facts ... we felt were not given appropriate weight," he said.

Mr. Colafella said the case would likely head for a new trial if the justices rule in Jordan's favor. If not, his original delinquent adjudication would stand and he will remain in a juvenile facility until he is 21. Mr. Colafella said an immediate decision is not expected.

Neither of Ms. Houk's parents could be reached Tuesday evening.

However, last year, her mother, Debbie Houk, told the Post-Gazette that Jordan's guilt was not in doubt.

"He did it and that's it," she said. "There's no other possible way."


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