A 21-year-old man who was wrongly convicted and jailed for murdering his father’s pregnant fiancee is speaking out for the first time since his release from prison.
Jordan Brown talks about the confusion he felt for years following his detention in a juvenile delinquency facility for the death of 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk, in an interview with Juju Chang on ABC’s 20/20.
He was pulled from his bed, arrested and was then charged less than 24 hours after her body was found.
Brown was released in July, 10 years after he was convicted for a crime he didn’t commit, and claims it took him almost two years into his sentence to realize why he was in custody.
‘I cant remember if they told me what happened. I knew that my step mom passed away. I didn’t how, or what was going on. And I didn’t know that I was there because of that,’ Jordan said.
‘I didn’t know until, I don’t know, maybe until I was like 13, 14 maybe.’
On July 18, the Supreme Court overturned Jordan’s adjudication of delinquency on a first-degree murder charge, and he was set free.
Jordan’s father, Christopher Brown, spoke about the case in a press conference on July 23.
‘You go from hours, to days, to weeks, to months and then years — and here we are nine years later,’ Christopher said.
‘Half of his life he spent in this system to get to our final day today. To me that’s an issue. That’s an issue.’
Jordan spent at least seven years locked up in a facility for juvenile delinquents, for a murder he didn’t commit, that seemingly occurred at his childhood home in Lawrence County Pennsylvania.
‘I was 11 years old when this all happened. I had no idea what was going on,’ he told ABC, in his first official interview since he was released three months ago. All I remember is waking up, the police taking me, and I was in jail, and that was it.’
Before Jordan’s whole life changed in an instant, Jordan had been living with his father, Kenzie, and Kenzie’s daughters, Jenessa, seven, and Adalynn, four, in their home on Wampum-New Galilee Road, in New Galilee, Pennsylvania.
Jordan’s soon-to-be step mother, Kenzie, was found dead on February 20, 2009, in their home shortly after Jordan had left for school that day, along with Jenessa.
According to her obituary, she died of a gunshot wound to the head. Her unborn child, who had been named Christopher Houk-Brown, did not survive.
After Kenzie’s body was found, police found a youth-sized shotgun in the home that they claimed smelled like it had been recently fired and discovered gunshot residue on Jordan’s shirt and pants. Yet there was no physical residue from the murder anywhere to be found on the firearm.
And then without warning, Jordan was abruptly arrested for the deaths, despite there being no DNA, blood or fingerprints linking him to the crime.
He was adjudicated delinquent (which is the term used rather than “convicted” in juvenile court) in 2012 of first-degree murder and first-degree homicide, and would spend the next nine years fighting to clear his name.
Finally, in July, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously overturned his adjudication of delinquency related to the murder charge.
In a 47-page opinion, the court cited insufficient evidence, and Jordan was finally freed.
‘At the end of the day, if anything positive comes of this is maybe some of the higher-ups look at this juvenile system and how broken it is,’ Christopher said.