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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MURPHY: 12-year-old could serve life in prison

Jordan Brown is facing murder charges after putting a bullet in the head of Kenzie Houk in February 2009. Houk, 26, was engaged to Brown’s father. She was eight months pregnant and the mother of a seven-year-old and four-year-old.

The problem, apart from the double homicide, is that Jordan Brown was only 11 years old at the time of the murder.

When I was 11, I was watching the Disney Channel every day after school with a bowl of Frosted Flakes in my lap. Prison was something I saw in movies.

Brown, now 12, is likely to become the youngest American citizen ever to get life in prison without parole.

The murder occurred in Pennsylvania, where there is no age limit when it comes to criminal homicide. This means Brown can be put into prison with grown men far more aware of the crimes they committed than he.

Young Jordan Brown can go to prison in the same country that found O.J. Simpson innocent.

He can go to prison in the same country where Lindsay Lohan has been caught with more cocaine than George Jung and has more DUIs than Mel Gibson.

Can we get this kid one of their lawyers?

I know these people are “above-the-law” celebrities, but they are adults. This is a 12-year-old boy who cannot fully grasp what he has done. He does not need be the inspiration for a spinoff of HBO’s “Oz,” he needs to be in counseling.

According to prosecutors, there was tension between Brown and his soon-to-be stepmother. There was also gun residue found on Brown, likely from a novice hunting gun his father had given him as a gift.

It’s clear he killed her.Nothing can be done to console her family and daughters. Brown should go into a juvenile detention facility where he can be rehabilitated and helped to understand the enormity of his actions.

But the fact remains: He is now 12 years old. There is still hope to salvage this boy’s life. He needs to learn from his own life experiences. If he is put into a state or federal penitentiary, he’s not going to end up rehabilitated.

That would be like a boy being raised by wolves. Children need families to raise, nurture and support them through good and bad times. The fact that sending him to jail is even being considered is an embarrassment to this country’s court system.

According to, children in adult jails are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted, twice as likely to be beaten by staff and most astounding of all, eight times as likely to commit suicide compared to a juvenile facility.

I can promise you that Jordan Brown killing Kenzie Houk was less meditated and deliberate than an inebriated driver striking and killing a pedestrian — an offense that can land you a minimum of one year in jail.

Although Jordan’s father, who has already lost an expecting fiancee, does not want to see his child go to jail, the victim’s family still wants Jordan to be charged as an adult.

It is natural to seek justice when a loved one is taken, as it is often the only thing they have left to carry on his or her name. But in the case of Jordan Brown, unusual circumstances have to be taken into account.

Brown is a 12-year-old boy who likes to play football and hunt with his father, whom he loves. For the last year he has carried on his life in a juvenile facility, still unable to comprehend what he has done.

He will soon start going through puberty (and fantasizing about girls).

Jordan might have to experience these things alone, in prison, where he might spend the rest of his life.

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    DianaFeb 11, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Murder is murder. This child has no mental condition that keeps him from knowing right from wrong. If he went hunting with his father then he definitely knows what a gun can do. This woman was shot in cold blood, while being 8 mos. pregnant. The baby died too.Now all of a sudden you can see that prison does not rehabilitate. We have been telling the government that for years, but I guess it’s only heard when a little white boy is affected by it. He is not the first child to be sent to prison for the rest of his life- if it happens. We recently had a 13 year old girl who stabbed a family member over milk for her cereal. These are people who were fighting over food, yet she is still held responsible for her actions. Did anyone look at her situation to see why she should not be sent to jail? No, she was swept under the rug. By the way, O.J. was found not guilty by a jury of his peers because that’s what the law says. With all the errors and mistakes that were made in his case you should be happy that he was found not guilty.Only a crooked system could have convicted this man. Remember, it’s suppose to be about what the law says, not what you feel. Also, drunk driving isn’t taken seriously in the state of Wisconsin and until it is, we will always have idiots driving drunk.