NEW CASTLE, Pa. (CBS/AP) A boy who was 11-years-old when he allegedly murdered his father's pregnant fiancee with a shotgun has a "very limited" likelihood of being rehabilitated through the juvenile court system, a psychiatrist hired by state prosecutors said.
A judge will now weigh that in deciding whether Jordan Brown, now 12, will be tried as an adult or have his case moved to juvenile court.
The 12-year-old faces up to life in prison if he's convicted of the Feb. 20, 2009 murder of 26-year-old Kenzie Houk and her nearly full-term son as she lay in bed in their New Galilee farmhouse. If the case is moved to juvenile court, the longest Brown could remain incarcerated or on probation would be about nine years - just until he's 21-years-old.
Under Pensylvania law, in order to move the case Brown's attorneys must prove he would be more "amenable" to rehabilitation in the juvenile system.
Dr. John O'Brien, hired by state prosecutors, said Brown's "amenability to rehabilitation, in my opinion, is very limited." Brown was jealous of the son of his father's girlfriend before Houk, O'Brien said. And Brown may have resented plans to make him move out of his room to make space for the son Houk was expecting, O'Brien said.
Deborah Houk, the victim's mother, rejected jealousy as a motive, saying after the hearing that Brown was simply "evil." "He's not admitting it but, if he did, it would be a lot easier on everybody," her husband, Jack Houk, said.
But Brown's attorneys disagree. A defense expert who testified in January said Brown was a "low risk" for future violent behavior, but didn't consider the criminal allegations in reaching that conclusion.
After the hearing, defense attorney David Acker repeated allegations recently raised by Brown's family that Houk has an ex-boyfriend who threatened her and supposedly "confessed" to friends at a party that he killed her. Brown's family contends police botched the case, overlooked other suspects, and wrongly charged the boy.
His father, Christopher, told Good Morning America earlier this week that his son is innocent and is "too young" to appreciate the magnitude of the case. He refused comment as he left the courtroom.
Lawrence County Judge Dominick Motto gave both sides a week to submit written arguments. Motto must rule within 20 days, otherwise Brown will remain in adult court by default.
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