An 11-year-old boy shot his father’s pregnant girlfriend in the back of the head while she was lying in bed in their western Pennsylvania farmhouse, then got on the school bus and went to school, authorities said on Saturday.
Jordan Brown was charged on Saturday as an adult in the shooting death of 26-year-old Kenzie Marie Houk, who was eight months pregnant, Lawrence County District Attorney John Bongivengo said at a news conference.
Houk’s family and friends, who gathered at her parents’ house on Saturday night, said Houk had experienced problems with the boy in the past.
“There was an issue with jealousy. He told my son stuff,” said Houk’s brother-in-law, Jason Kraner, 34. “He actually told my son that he wanted to do that to her.”
Brown, the son of Houk’s live-in boyfriend, was charged with criminal homicide and criminal homicide of an unborn child, Bongivengo said. He was being held in Lawrence County Jail. A preliminary hearing is set for Thursday.
The fifth-grader was picked up from school on Friday by Pennsylvania State Police, who found Houk’s body after her four-year-old daughter told tree cutters on the property that she thought her mother was dead, Bongivengo said.
The murder follows another shocking killing linked to a boy. On Thursday, a nine-year-old Arizona boy reached a plea deal with authorities who accused him of the fatal shootings of his father and his father’s roommate. The boy pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of his father’s roommate while the murder charge in his father’s death was dropped.
On Saturday, the Pennsylvania boy told police there was a suspicious black truck on the property that morning, causing investigators to look into a false lead for about five hours, he said.
Inconsistencies in Brown’s description of the vehicle led police to reinterview the victim’s seven-year-old daughter, who implicated the boy in the killing, Bongivengo said.
“She didn’t actually eyewitness the shooting. She saw him with what she believed to be a shotgun and heard a loud bang,” Bongivengo said, adding that the weapon, a youth model 20-gauge shotgun, was found in what police believed was the boy’s bedroom.
The shotgun, which apparently belonged to Brown, is designed for children and such weapons do not have to be registered, Bongivengo said.
Brown’s attorney, Dennis Elisco, said the evidence points to the gunshot wound being “consistent” with the boy’s hunting gun, but he wanted to see stronger proof.
“I believe Jordan did not do this and I’m looking forward to seeing the physical evidence to see if it matches with what I think happened,” he said on Saturday after meeting with the boy in jail.
The attorney also said he met with the boy’s father, Christopher Brown, and would file a motion to have the boy released on bail and move the case to juvenile court.
The attorney said Christopher Brown was “in a state of actual shock and disbelief.”
Police said they had no motive for the shooting and Bongivengo would not say whether the boy had confessed.