Jordan Brown Murder Case Takes Emotional Toll

Boy charged with committing murder at age 11 to be tried as an adult.

ByABC News
April 28, 2010, 5:15 PM

April 28, 2010— -- The killing of a young pregnant mother, allegedly by the 11-year-old boy who was about to become her stepson, has created a bitter feud between two families that were about to be happily joined through marriage.

Last year, Jordan Brown, now 12, was charged with murdering Kenzie Houk, his father's eight-and-a-half month pregnant fiancee while she was asleep. Police say Brown walked into his father's bedroom, shot his future stepmom with a hunting rifle and then boarded a bus for elementary school.

A Pennsylvania judge ruled last month that the boy will be tried as an adult. If convicted, he could become the youngest person in U.S. history to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

"He's an average 12-year-old," said Jordan's father Chris Brown. "To try to explain to a 12-year-old what the rest of your life means it's incomprehensible for him. He doesn't appreciate the magnitude of what he's facing."

Jordan was denied the chance to stay in a juvenile facility where he would be released by the age of 21 as requested by his lawyers. The decision was the biggest setback yet for the Brown family. Brown told "Nightline" he was "heartbroken" and "sickened by the judge's ruling."

But for the family of Houk, 26, who was found shot in the head in her rural farmhouse in Western Pennsylvania in February 2009 -- just two weeks away from giving birth to her first son -- life in prison may not be as severe as losing a loved one.

"Worse thing is losing your daughter," said Houk's mother Debbie Houk. "I wake up in the middle of the night and think I'm going to have an anxiety attack knowing that I'm never seeing her again. It hurts."

It was Houk's 4-year-old daughter Adalynn who discovered her own mother's body.

"She has said to me, 'Grandma, I got up that morning, I went down to get mommy, I shook her and she wouldn't wake and she had blood on her back,'" Debbie Houk said.

The Houks gathered at the hospital to say goodbye -- not only to Kenzie Houk, but to their unborn grandson, who was to be named Christopher Jr.

"It was horrible. That little baby was perfect," Debbie Houk said. "When I spoke to the preacher ...he said to me, 'Do you realize that you actually held an angel, because we are all born into the world of sin, and this baby never was.'"