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Jordan Brown, Arrested at Age 11, Exonerated of 2009 Murder

By Innocence Staff

Lawrence County Jail mugshot of Jordan Brown in 2009.

In a 5-0 ruling, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Jordan Brown, who was 11-years-old when he was arrested, booked into an adult jail and initially charged as an adult for the 2009 murder of his father’s pregnant fiancée. In 2012, Brown was adjudicated delinquent – meaning guilty in juvenile court – of first-degree murder and criminal homicide of an unborn child. Brown was released in 2016 after spending seven years in prison.

Brown’s conviction was discharged based on the Supreme Court’s decision that there was insufficient evidence to convict Brown of the murder. No DNA or fingerprint evidence connected Brown to the crime. Further, there was no proof the shotgun found in the victim’s home was the murder weapon or that Brown pulled the trigger.

The court established that the forensic evidence and witness testimony were “consistent with two possibilities, first that a person or persons unknown entered the house in which the victim was sleeping and shot her to death after Brown and his sister had left for school…”

“Second, the Commonwealth’s theory, that, after [Brown’s] father left for work, [Brown], in full view of [his stepsister], walked upstairs and retrieved a 20-gauge shotgun from his bedroom, walked back downstairs, retrieved a shotgun shell from a box of shells located in an armoire in the victim’s bedroom on which the television set she was watching was located, shot the victim in the back of the head as she lay on the bed facing that television, took the shotgun back upstairs and returned it to its former position — after wiping it clean of any physical evidence caused by the shooting — then caught the school bus with [his stepsister], and went to school as if it were any other normal morning.”

Because Brown’s conviction was reversed based on insufficient evidence, the case is over and there will not be a new trial. At 20-years-old, Brown is finally free.

“You go from hours, to days, to weeks, to months and then years — and here we are nine years later,” Brown’s father, Christopher Brown, said during a press conference yesterday. “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.”

“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.”

Read the full story here.

8 Comments

  1. Susan Reid

    May the violence against black people stop . Stop now. Thank you, Innocence Project people, for your work.

  2. Rebecca Hawksley

    And help them to understand, how traumatic the experience of being put in jail or Penitentiary are and long-lasting.

  3. Sharon Vann-Williams

    That was horrible!!

  4. Crystal Fowler

    I am the mother of Isiah Fowler. We are going through something very similar. Our son was arrested in 2013 at the age of 12 for the 2nd degree murder of his little sister. And was convicted. Unknown DNA and fingerprints at the crime scene. Won his 1st appeal unanamously and went back to trial and was just re-convicted. He will be turning 18 this month. I am trying to get innocence project involved in his case as well as figure out the steps needed to change juvenile laws. Glad to hear this boy was innocent and he finally got to go home to his family. Such a sad story.

  5. TALIKA BROWN

    The 1st problem is the child constitutional right was broken. He was not supposed to be in an adult prison. Highest chances of rape is with a minor in adult prison…the criminal justice system is one sided. Never will it be ran with honor and respect.

  6. Meg Will

    I’m a specialist. A behaviorist. A school psychologist. Watched the 20/20. Went into it with open mind. Watched subjectively. Police got it wrong. He’s innocent. Messed up!

  7. Angelia martin

    I watched the show and I do not believe for one minute this kid was guilty. The one cop who kept acting so positive has an issue and I hope no one else gets him on their case. Poor Jordan lost his childhood and his Dad did as well. I will say Jordan sounded like he had used his time wisely with educating himself and even maintained some innocence for his age.

  8. Naomi Piche

    I just watched the episode about this young man on 20/20… The Wampum Police Dept. should be not only ashamed of how they handled this case but also held accountable for its actions. It’s more than clear that this 11 year old had nothing to do with this crime yet he was treated as guilty before proven innocent. The victim and her unborn child have gone without justice this whole time all because of the ego of some of these detectives and attorneys. I’m appalled! Please prevent things like this from happening in the future for anybody, especially children! Thank you for your hard work and dedication, Innocence Project!

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