Monday, April 2, 2012

Court orders detention hearing for juvenile facing murder charge

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ordered  Lawrence County Judge John Hodge to hold a detention hearing for Jordan Brown.  He has been detained for more than three years on charges that he fatally shot his father's pregnant fiancee.

Brown, now 14, has been held in the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Detention Center in Erie since February 2009, when he was charged with the killings of Kenzie Houk whose pregnancy was nearly at its full-term. Brown was 11-years-old at the time of the killing, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In October, Hodge denied a motion by Jordan's defense attorneys to hold a detention hearing for him, saying he lacked jurisdiction because the Superior Court panel had yet to hear an appeal on a different aspect of the case.

Under the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act, a juvenile must be released or adjudicated within 10 days of being charged. Brown was originally charged as an adult.  He faced life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in adult court.

Last year, Judge Dominick Motto decided his case should be handled in juvenile court after the Superior Court sent  the case back to him after setting aside Motto's decision that the case should remain in adult court, reported the Post-Gazette.

A three-judge panel of the Superior Court expressed concern that no detention hearing had been held. The order issued last week directs Hodge to hold the detention hearing by April 5.

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