12-Year-Old Could Be Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole if Convicted of First-Degree Murder

A judge has ruled that 12-year-old Jordan Brown will be tried as an adult for the first-degree murder of his dad’s pregnant fiancé. If convicted, he would be the youngest American to serve a lifetime in prison without parole.

Jordan is accused of using a .20-gauge shotgun to kill Kenzie Houk, who was 9-months pregnant in February 2009. She was sleeping when he shot her. Her unborn baby also did not survive the shooting.

Judge Dominick Motto called the incident an “execution-style killing.” He says his decision is based on the boy’s refusal to accept responsibility for what he did.

Jordan’s lawyers had requested that the murder case be moved to juvenile court. A psychologist for the defense had testified that the child was at “low-risk” for committing future violent acts.

Prosecutors say that Jordan killed his soon-to-be stepmother because he didn’t like the fact that he was asked to move out of his bedroom. His unborn half-brother was going to be named after his father.

Jordan’s murder trial could begin in May. The 12-year-old’s criminal defense lawyers are trying to decide whether to ask the judge to let them take the case to the state Supreme Court.

In Massachusetts, persons as young as 14 can be sentenced life in prison without parole if convicted for murder. In September 2009, up to 57 people that were also first-time offenders were serving these mandatory sentences in the state’s prisons.

If your child has been charged with a crime, an experienced Boston juvenile crimes lawyer can fight to take the case to juvenile court where the penalties are less harsh. Human Rights Watch says that sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole is cruel and unfair. According scientific research, there are difference between adult and adolescent brains that explain why many teens often don’t comprehend the consequences of their actions.

Juvenile life-without-parole sentence too harsh, reports says, Boston.com, September 30, 2009
12-year-old boy to be tried as adult, UPI, March 30, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Juvenile Court Department, The Massachusetts Court System
The General Laws of Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, contact our Boston criminal defense law firm.

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