WAMPUM, Pa. —
Jordan Brown was 11 years previous when he was arrested and initially charged as an grownup for the homicide of his pregnant, soon-to-be stepmother. Now 21, Brown, who spent greater than seven years in custody, is targeted on his future since his homicide conviction was overturned simply this summer time.
“I’m not angry. I mean, I think the whole, like, what happened and the way it happened is B.S.,” Jordan Brown stated in an unique interview with ABC Information’ Juju Chang that may air on “20/20” Friday at 9 p.m. adopted by “Nightline” at 11:35 p.m. “I’m innocent. That’s, like, the only thing I really want people to know.”
In 2009, Jordan Brown was charged with murdering 26-year-old Kenzie Houk as she slept at their house in Wampum, Pennsylvania. Houk was engaged to be married to his father, Chris Brown, and eight and 1/2 months pregnant.
Police stated Jordan Brown walked into her bed room, shot his future stepmother together with his youth searching shotgun after which boarded the bus for his elementary faculty.
Jordan Brown denies killing Houk. He stated that preparing for faculty that day in February 2009 was “just a normal morning.”
“My sister Jenessa woke me up,” Jordan Brown stated. “[I] went downstairs, got my clothes, went in the bathroom [and] got dressed. And we just sat … on the couch in the living room waiting and then Kenzie told us to go because the bus is coming and we’re going to be late. So we [hurried] up and went out the back door and ran down the driveway. [We] went to school.”
At round eight:15 a.m., Jordan Brown stated, he and then-7-year-old Jenessa, one among Houk’s daughters, left the home to catch the varsity bus. At 9 a.m., tree trimmers arrived to work round the home. Quickly after, one of many tree-trimming staff noticed Houk’s different daughter, Four-year-old Adalynn, within the doorway, sobbing and saying her mom was lifeless. The tree trimmers referred to as 911, and shortly thereafter, police contacted Chris, who was already at work that morning within the delivery division of a tableware firm.
“They told me that [she and] the baby were gone, and I remember collapsing in the yard,” Chris Brown informed ABC Information’ Juju Chang. “I lost it.”
At three:30 a.m. the subsequent day, the grieving father and son have been woke up by police pounding at the door. The officers had a warrant to arrest 11-year-old Jordan Brown.
Jordan, then a fifth grader, stated he did not perceive what he was being accused of.
“They put me in the back of the car and they took me to the police barracks. And I was in there. And then they took me straight to the county jail,” Jordan Brown stated.
After he was arrested and charged with the murders of each Kenzie Houk and her unborn youngster, Jordan Brown was held at the Lawrence County Jail. When his mug shot was taken, Jordan Brown stated, he was crying.
“I didn’t understand what was happening. I didn’t know where I was at, like, what was going on or anything,” he stated.
Contained in the Browns’ farmhouse, police discovered handguns, rifles, and a number of other rounds of ammunition. Investigators on the case inform ABC Information, in that rural space of Pennsylvania, “It’s fairly common, most – especially young males – would grow up with learning to shoot firearms.”
Additionally they discovered a 20-gauge shotgun that belonged to Jordan. It had been a Christmas present from his father as a result of the 2 appreciated to go searching collectively. Investigators stated the gun smelled like it had lately been fired.
However investigators believed the strongest piece of circumstantial proof got here from Jenessa. Police say she initially stated nothing uncommon occurred that morning earlier than faculty. However when she was re-interviewed, police say she had a startling recollection. Whereas ready for Jordan to go away the home together with her, she informed them she heard a growth and recognized it to police because the sound of a gun.
Police additionally stated they discovered a 20-gauge shotgun shell casing in pristine situation subsequent to the household’s driveway and located some proof of gunshot residue on Jordan’s clothes.
Whereas awaiting trial, Jordan Brown was housed for three years at the Edmund L. Thomas Adolescent Middle in Erie County, Pennsylvania.
Chris Brown stated he drove day by day, 230 miles spherical journey, to see his son at the middle. He stated he wanted to drive 4 hours every single day to go to Jordan Brown as a result of “he’s my son.”
Jordan stated these visits have been a lifeline: “I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.”
“They played a big [role] in, like, keeping my head straight,” he stated.
The day by day journey, nevertheless, wreaked havoc on his funds, Chris Brown stated.
“It cost me my job, and what money that I had coming in went into the gas tank and went into things that he needed,” Chris Brown stated.
And with the concentrate on his son’s authorized plight, Chris Brown stated his grief for the lack of his fiancée and their unborn child needed to take a again seat.
“[I really] haven’t had a chance to grieve properly,” Chris Brown stated.
Because the years handed, Jordan Brown stated he spent a lot of his time absorbed within the books his father introduced him, studying with a dictionary subsequent to him.
“If I would read something and come across a word I didn’t know, [I would] look it up. That way I know what was trying to be said, and then that’s how I read,” he stated. “I was a big fantasy reader… It was a whole different world. I’d, like, lose myself in the book. … Time flew when you were reading.”
All through Jordan Brown’s keep in detention in Erie, his father continued to ask him whether or not he’d killed Houk.
“I gave him every opportunity. [I’d say,] ‘Jordan, listen, if something happens. Accidents happen, buddy. You know, if something happened, tell me. I’m not going to be mad at you. I’m your dad. I’m never not going to be your dad. I’m never not going to be here every day,'” Chris Brown stated.
“[He] never changed his story. You know, [he] maintained his innocence throughout from day one,” Chris Brown stated.
Greater than two years after he was charged, a decide dominated that his case can be moved from grownup to juvenile courtroom. It might be one other eight months earlier than Jordan would stand trial for double murder.
The trial lasted three days. Regardless of the investigators’ perception that Jenessa statements to police have been compelling and credible, prosecutors made the choice to not introduce them at the trial, nor did she testify.
Nonetheless, a juvenile courtroom decide discovered Jordan Brown, now 14, delinquent within the case.
“A judge finding a juvenile delinquent is effectively a guilty verdict. It’s saying that I have a charge in front of me in juvenile court, and I am finding that you are responsible for that crime,” ABC Information’ Chief Authorized Analyst Dan Abrams stated.
“I can remember just looking at Jordan and feeling like we had failed him. And just feeling so sorry for him at that moment,” Jordan Brown’s lawyer Steve Colafella advised ABC Information. “And I just remember looking at him thinking, ‘How can this kid have any more hope?'”
Jordan Brown, who’d been in custody all through the investigation and trial, was ultimately despatched to George Junior Republic juvenile detention middle in Grove Metropolis, Pennsylvania.
Throughout his incarceration, Jordan taught himself to play guitar and stated he turned a reasonably good basketball participant.
Jordan Brown spent eight summers in detention and was launched when he turned 18 in 2016.
Jordan Brown’s legal professionals had filed a discover of attraction two months after he was convicted. Eight and a half years after his arrest, Jordan Brown’s case was heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Courtroom final November.
And in July 2018, the courtroom sided with Jordan Brown, writing that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had did not show Jordan Brown responsible past an inexpensive doubt. His conviction was overturned. In a uncommon transfer, the very best courtroom in Pennsylvania dominated that “there was insufficient evidence” to prosecute the case.
“I was happy. Finally, it felt like a big weight had been lifted off of me. It’s been a nightmare for nine-and-a-half years.” Chris Brown stated.
“I’m 100 percent, you know, a whole, clean slate. Everything is gone. And that made me happy. Finally, the truth finally got out,” Jordan Brown stated.
When requested what message he had for the state police troopers who’d arrested his son, Chris Brown stated, “‘Shame on you,’ is probably the most polite way to put it.”
“You took an 11-year-old’s childhood away from him. You’ve, you know, ruined his name in essence. I mean, you Google ‘Jordan Brown’ and you get that mug shot picture that pops up,” he stated.
Jordan Brown stated he has “mixed feelings” about what occurred to him.
“It used to bother me all the time. I used to hate it. But then I got to the point where it didn’t bother me at all. I didn’t care. But now I’m kind of, like, I go back and forth sometimes, I think,” he stated.
“I’ll be honest with you, I suffer from PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] over this,” Chris Brown stated. “It’s kind of a bittersweet feeling, you know. [I’m] happy that this part of it is over with Jordan, you know, being wrongfully accused. But still, that side of it, that suffering from the loss and not having any answers, knowing he was falsely accused and the route the prosecutor and investigators took on this, the inadequate investigation. … I think has just ruined us [from] ever having closure and the person who did this, and for the person who actually did this to pay for it.”
“There’s a murderer walking amongst us that has been overlooked,” Chris Brown stated.
Retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Bobby McGraw, one of many investigators on the case, stated he is nonetheless assured that Jordan Brown dedicated the murders.
“This case was investigated by some of the finest police officers in this country, plain and simple. And none of us wanted to put handcuffs on an 11-year-old. That’s where the case took us. I have never looked back that we arrested the wrong person, in my opinion. And I would assume every trooper who investigated that case feels the same way. We did not get this wrong,” McGraw informed ABC Information. “There is not a trooper on scene that day that has lost one second of sleep over this case.”
Jordan Brown, who is attending school and learning pc science, is decided to go away his previous behind and put together for brighter days forward.
“I just want to be successful. I just want to graduate college, you know, get a job in my major and, I don’t know, just be successful,” Jordan Brown stated.
“My biggest hopes for him probably is that he gets a fair shake moving forward, that, you know, people look at this and, for what it is, what it truly is,” Chris Brown stated. “Read that Supreme Court order and realize that this kid was done wrong.”
Watch the complete story on ABC Information’ “20/20” Friday at 9 p.m.