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tv   2020  ABC  April 6, 2019 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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[ cheers and applause ] [ laughter ] what do you see in this mug shot? >> i see somebody who just committed a murder. that's why there's a mug shot. >> you have a kid who believes in santa claus and the easter bunny. but -- >> is now standing accused of murder. >> not just anyone, but his very own son. >> he was sitting there in shackles and than cuffs. unbelievable. >> tonight, on "20/20," the little boy convicted of killing his father's pregnant fiancee. >> we arrested the little boy because he put a shotgun to the back of somebody's head and pulled the trigger. >> an 11-year-old who believes
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loaded his shotgun, and shot her in the back of the head. >> child killer who may never know freedom again. >> mug shot across the world. >> jordan would have been the youngest child ever to be sentenced to life without parole. >> a father's fight to get him out. >> she's lost his childhood on a false conviction and needs to be exonerated. >> and the family who thinks he should stay in. >> jordan is a murderer, and i'll say it, and his father needs to get in the mirror every morning and say i'm the father of a murderer. >> after a bombshell twist, jordan brown is speaking out for the first time after seven years behind bars. >> did you at 11 understand you could face life in prison? >> no. i didn't understand anything at all, what was going on. >> tonight, the question that still lingers. if he didn't do it, who did? >> you think this led to a real killer getting away with murder? >> absolutely. there is a murderer walking among us. >> good evening. i'm david muir. >> i'm amy robach, and this is "20/20."
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>> tonight's abc's with a game-changer in a case she's been covering for nine years now. ♪ >> reporter: this is jordan brown when he was still a typical fifth grader. quarterback of the peewee football team, the warriors, coached by his father chris, a single dad. >> jordan had always been the center of his father's universe. they were best friends. they did everything together. >> reporter: their hometown, wampum, pennsylvania, 40 miles north of pittsburgh, a rural oasis for water lovers and off-roaders. >> it's a heavily wooded area with a lot of small towns. a lot of hills and it's very beautiful. >> reporter: jordan's childhood is filled with typical birthday parties -- petting zoos, and pony rides. his dad closely by his side. jordan's grin lighting up his
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elementary school photos year after year. what was jordan like? what kind of kid was he at 11? >> he was your average 11-year-old kid. all-american child. you know, played sports -- baseball, football -- had friends. >> reporter: this is jordan brown today, now 21, remembering that tender, precious time in his life fondly. what kind of childhood would you say you had up until 11? >> normal, i guess. i mean, i had friends always coming over. used to always play, play games, like video games. >> reporter: and back then, chris was happy, too. working in shipping at a local tableware factory, engaged to a woman he'd known since his teens, kenzie houk, a hairstylist and stay at home mom, also a single parent. mother of two young girls, 7-year-old jenessa and 4-year-old adalynn. what made you love her? >> who she was. who she was, a person. >> kenzie was real feisty.
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she was funny. she always had a beautiful smile, liked everybody, and she loved her children. >> that's all she ever said, when you say, what do you wanna be when you grow up? i want to be a mom. i want kids. >> reporter: kenzie and chris and their kids had recently moved in together to this farm house. the new, blended family seemed to be bonding. jordan even called kenzie "mom." what was your relationship like with your soon-to-be stepmom? >> it was strong. she was really nice. i liked her a lot. >> she bent over backwards for him. >> she had a good relationship with him. >> reporter: and a new sibling was on the way. chris and kenzie were eagerly awaiting a baby together. a boy they had already named christopher. >> she was thrilled. that's what she wanted. i had had a shower. all the clothing was washed. diapers were where they were
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supposed to be and everything. yeah, she was ready. >> reporter: you were excited about the baby on the way? >> oh, yeah. absolutely. i mean, what father wouldn't be? >> i was happy. i always wanted a little brother. and it was a boy. so that's what i was gonna get. >> reporter: so you were excited about it. >> yeah, i was really excited. >> reporter: it is a frigid february morning in 2009. kenzie is 8 1/2 months pregnant. but their hopes for a future together as a family are about to be shattered. >> i remember getting up that morning, running a little late for work. she had asked me to stay home that day, and i didn't. and that's something that's haunted me. >> reporter: what do you remember? >> it was just a normal morning. my sister janessa woke me up. >> reporter: kenzie is asleep in the downstairs bedroom. jordan is in his bedroom upstairs. once the baby arrived, they were going to swap bedrooms, so jordan had already moved his clothes downstairs. >> went downstairs, got my clothes, went in the bathroom,
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got dressed. and we just sat on the couch in the living room waiting. and then kenzie told us to go because the bus is coming and we're gonna be late. so we hurry up and went out the backdoor and ran down the driveway. went to school. >> reporter: around 8:15 a.m., jordan and janessa leave for school. 4-year-old adalynn is asleep upstairs. 9:00 a.m., tree trimmers arrive to work around the house. a short time later, a tree trimmer sees adalynn in the doorway, sobbing. she tells him her mother is dead. he calls 911. >> and as we arrived on the scene and did our initial assessment, kenzie was in the bedroom. >> reporter: what was your impression? >> at that point, we assumed that somehow she had hemorrhaged. we didn't touch her. we didn't move her. at that point, we're trying to maintain the integrity of the scene. >> reporter: when did you realize you had a murder on your hands? >> the coroner was taking photos and i was standing right at the edge of the doorway,
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and i remember the coroner saying, as he started to touch the body, we have a problem. and that's when we realized that it was a homicide. >> reporter: 26-year-old kenzie had been shot in the back of the head, execution style. police attempt cpr, but it's too late. then, police make the dreaded call to chris, telling him to come home immediately. >> they told me that her and the baby were gone. and i remember collapsing in the yard. i lost it. >> reporter: chris brown is interviewed at the state police barracks. >> you're voluntarily giving us this statement? >> yes. >> you're not under arrest, you're free, okay. >> reporter: was chris brown a suspect? >> well, when you open an investigation, you have to leave everything open as far as who may be suspects. >> reporter: chris describes his final moments with kenzie. >> i gave her a kiss, told her i loved her. she kissed me back and i left. >> reporter: chris had been at work at the factory, and his hands are clean of gunpowder residue, so he's quickly eliminated as a suspect. meanwhile, police head to mohawk
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elementary school to speak to the children. kenzie's daughter janessa doesn't report anything out of the ordinary. sounded like a typical morning for jordan too. >> there were two troopers -- at the time i didn't know they were troopers. and they asked if anything unusual happened. and i just told them that, you know, it was just a normal morning. >> reporter: but he does tell police he saw a black truck by the garage. in the very first interview with police, you mentioned that you saw a vehicle in the driveway. >> i didn't think anything of it. you know, it's just a truck. i thought, you know, it was just some guy there, you know, doing work or something. >> reporter: 3:30 a.m., the following morning, a grieving father and son have just managed to finally nod off, when the silence of the night is broken by someone pounding at their door. >> i had just fallen asleep, and of course the stressful day that we had -- >> you had just lost your fiance
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and unborn child. jordan was in my arms bawling. that's how we fell asleep. and we were woke up shortly after. >> reporter: it's the police. they have a warrant to arrest 11-year-old jordan brown. >> they came and got me, 3:00 in the morning, they put me in the back of the car. they took me to the police barracks. and i was in there. and then they took me straight to the county jail. i wasn't with anybody. it was just a bunch of strangers. >> i was mind-blown. >> reporter: next, jordan's life as a regular kid is officially over. he's now an accused killer. you arrest him. within less than 24 hours. you're convinced he's the murderer. >> yes. or we wouldn't have arrested him. >> reporter: and another interview with that 7-year-old witness becomes a bombshell. >> she heard a big boom, and she identified it as the sound of a gun. >> reporter: stay with us. you know that look? that life of the party look.
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>> reporter: it happened inside this pennsylvania farmhouse. >> child killer accused of a shocking crime at the age of 11. >> the general reaction around town and the area, really, was one of shock. >> reporter: just 18 hours after the murder of 26-year-old kenzie houk, pennsylvania state police have made an arrest. the suspect? not some hardened criminal. it's an 11-year-old boy. jordan brown, accused of gunning down his pregnant, soon to be stepmom. the tiny town of wampum, with a population of roughly 600, now has millions of eyes on it. >> reporter: jordan brown was just 11 years old last february. >> that mug shot of jordan that sort of became an icon of the story spread across the world. >> reporter: this is the mugshot that was taken. >> i was crying in the picture. i was crying that whole night. i didn't understand what was happening. i didn't know where i was at or
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what was going on or anything. >> reporter: did you understand what you stood accused of? >> no, i didn't understand. >> reporter: what do you see in this mug shot? >> i see somebody who just committed a murder. that's why there's a mug shot. >> reporter: retired state police corporal jeffrey martin says the first critical clue was from the autopsy, which revealed the single gunshot to the head, and the shotgun pellets that killed her. >> i've never expected to have the murder weapon to be a shotgun. >> reporter: and so what is that telling you in terms of a suspect? >> it's more of a weapon of opportunity. it's not a weapon that someone's gonna carry across the field or carry up a driveway. it's three feet long. >> baselyically the wonl way to get to the house is up this driveway. >> reporter: at the brown's farm house, investigators found a collection of weapons, handguns, rifles, several rounds of ammunition, and a child-sized shotgun that belongs to jordan, a gift from his father for christmas. tell me a little bit about the hunting culture in rural areas of pennsylvania.
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>> it's fairly common. most -- especially young males, would grow up with learning to shoot firearms. >> reporter: so it's not unusual for a kid to have a shotgun, a hunting rifle? >> no. >> reporter: how often did you go hunting with your dad? >> well, as much as he would take me. >> reporter: but two police officers at the scene are suspicious when they take a whiff of that barrel. it starts to seem like, well, a smoking gun. >> we had a youth model shotgun in the house that had smelled like it recently had been fired. >> reporter: but what really turns the case, police say, are the additional interviews they conduct with jordan and 7-year-old janessa on the day of kenzie's murder. so what made you suspect jordan? >> when we interview someone, you expect them to give their account, wait a little while, interview them again, and they should give the same account. and i don't know if that happened in this case. >> reporter: investigators say in his second interview, jordan described that black truck he
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saw that morning differently. and he now added that there was a person inside. >> now, all of a sudden, someone was ducking down inside the truck and they had a hat on. his information changed. >> reporter: and police believe the strongest piece of circumstantial evidence comes from kenzie's 7-year-old daughter, janessa. police say at first she didn't report anything out of the ordinary that morning. but when she is re-interviewed, she has a startling new recollection. police say she tells them she saw jordan moving his guns that morning. and then -- >> she told me that when she was waiting downstairs for jordan, she heard a big boom and she identified it as the sound of a gun. >> reporter: do you remember doing anything with those guns that day? >> no. >> reporter: you never brought to guns downstairs? >> no, i never touched them. >> reporter: what was the motive in your mind for jordan to do this? >> in my opinion, jealousy. jealousy of the impending birth. >> reporter: and kenzie's father told us he had seen another side of jordan.
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>> he just seemed like he was a troubled kid. he just didn't seem like he was a real happy kid. i don't get it. >> reporter: back at the lawrence county jail after jordan's arrest, chris is separated from his son. and horrified by the sight of seeing him behind bars. >> the smallest jumpsuit they had, they put on him. and it was just rolled up and rolled up and rolled up. and i remember just big balls and cuffs around his -- >> reporter: like a halloween costume. >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: so you got a call in the middle of the night. >> middle of the night. >> reporter: defense attorney dennis elisco rushes to the jail. >> it was beyond surreal. he was in a state of absolute shock. >> he couldn't understand why he couldn't come home. you know, at 11 years old, that's so hard. >> the whole situation, i'd say is heinous. it's difficult to charge an 11-year-old with homicide. >> reporter: so you have to be really sure. >> you have to be sure enough to charge him, yes. >> reporter: prosecutor john bongivengo tells reporters he is confident in his arrest. especially because jordan's clothing showed some evidence of
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gun powder residue. >> i have a shotgun blast to the back of the head. it's consistent with a .20-gauge shotgun shell. i have a .20-gauge youth model in his room. it smells like it's recently fired. and he's got gun residue on him. at this point, that is more than enough. >> reporter: police found three 20 gauge shell casings outside the home, and one in particular caught their eye. >> that shell was found adjacent to the driveway in late february in pristine condition. >> reporter: in that second interview he had with police, jordan refers to throwing lint out of his pocket on the way to the bus. mcgraw thinks he threw something else. >> reporter: you're convinced that it was the lethal bullet, from this .20-gauge shotgun? >> correct. >> reporter: you didn't immediately assume that he was innocent. >> correct. i kind of took a step back and thought, could this have happened? i didn't see any signs. i didn't want to believe it. >> reporter: "could jordan
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have done this?" >> yeah, right. so, but at the same time, i said, "if he is responsible for this, he needs help." >> reporter: what made i convinced? >> once i talked to jordan, i know my son. i know if i ask him a question, he's lying, he's lying. an 11-year-old couldn't plan their own birthday party, let alone, you know, to think that they could do something like that. >> reporter: next -- >> this case would have been easy if it would have been somebody other than jordan. if it would have been an ex-boyfriend. >> reporter: but, it turns out kenzie houk did have an ex-boyfriend. >> there were seven people that they talked to and interviewed. "who could've done this? who could've hurt her?" all seven people said the same name, adam harvey. >> reporter: who's adam harvey? the answer, when "20/20" returns.
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>> reporter: 11-year-old jordan brown is having to grow
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up pretty fast. sitting in a six-by-ten-foot jail cell will do that to you. and you were pretty convinced he still believed in santa claus? >> yeah. you have a kid who believes in santa claus and the easter bunny, but -- >> reporter: is now standing accused of murder. >> of masterminding something that sent a dozen state troopers on a wild goose chase. >> "the world's youngest monster." and that fueled the media frenzy and the presumption of guilt that stayed with the case throughout. >> reporter: but if jordan didn't kill kenzie, then who did? chris brown believes investigators had tunnel vision and need to take a long, hard look at adam harvey, kenzie's ex-boyfriend of six years. a look at harvey's facebook page shows a cat lover. there's even a picture of adam with kenzie. >> the police asked me if there was anybody out there that i thought would've done something to her, and the first person to
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come to mind was adam harvey. she feared him. >> reporter: she was terrified of him. >> she had protection orders. protection from abuse orders. >> reporter: in that protective order, kenzie claimed adam had left messages threatening to kill her and her entire family. adam harvey denies all of those claims. >> unbeknownst to jordan, his soon-to-be stepmother had a pfa against a gentleman who had been threatening to kill her, leaving threatening messages, who happened to drive a black truck. >> reporter: a black truck. remember, jordan said he saw a black truck on the morning kenzie was murdered. >> jordan brown described a black pickup truck, which coincidentally adam harvey was stopped in. it's hugely significant. >> reporter: the police however, are not swayed, saying harvey's black truck that day didn't look like it could have made the almost 24-mile drive to and from kenzie's house and still have snow on it. >> there was a light coating of snow that we had on the ground. and when his truck was pulled over a short distance from his house, it still had snow on the hood. we cannot get over the fact that adam harvey did not have time to
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drive there and have the snow on his car. >> reporter: but there is something the police discovered when interviewing harvey. kenzie's little girl adalynn, who was believed to be his daughter, was not his daughter after all. >> he discovered a couple months before the homicide that he was not the biological father. >> reporter: this photo, posted on adam's facebook page years after kenzie's murder shows harvey holding a newborn baby. he writes, that's adalynn i'm holding. lied to for years. everyone knew and never said a thing. adam told police he and kenzie had fought over money. she wanted financial support for little adalynn, but adam refused because at the time, he suspected the child wasn't his. >> he was the first person we interviewed. he was the first person we located. to me, he was -- he's the guy. she had a pfa on him. this was textbook. this is the guy.
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this is gonna be easy. >> reporter: but police say the investigation into harvey quickly lost steam. they tested his hands for the presence of gunshot residue and there was none. and harvey told police he didn't even know where kenzie lived. >> and as the interview progressed through the first half hour, maybe 40 minutes, i just got no indication that it was adam. >> reporter: so within an hour of an interview, you felt it wasn't him? >> well, the interview went longer, but generally a longer, but generally a half hour, 45 minutes, you get cues. and you'll see body language and you'll get indicators, and -- >> reporter: you saw nothing? >> i saw nothing. i saw a gentleman in front of me that was crying and he had -- >> reporter: he was crying? like, crying? >> yes, yes. even with the relationship they had, adam was still in love with kenzie. >> reporter: investigators say adam harvey cooperated during the investigation. he said he would take a polygraph. he also had an alibi, which his father backed up. he told police he didn't harm
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kenzie that morning. so in less than a day, adam harvey was no longer a suspect. >> it's such a small window and such an unlikely set of the circumstance that he found out where she lived, knew to doors were unlocked, knew there was a shotgun in the house. he gets there before it snows with no tracks, gets by the tree cutting guys. it seems highly unlikely. >> reporter: next, a father's fight for his son's freedom. what was it like hearing that he could face life in prison if convicted as an adult? >> holy cow, i can't believe this is happening. >> there's no middle ground. he's either looking at life in prison or home in time to learn how to drive, which is an amazing contrast. >> reporter: stay with us. bonvoy. [music] bonvoy. [music]
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>> reporter: imagine driving four hours a day to visit your incarcerated 11-year-old son, when you're convinced he's innocent of murdering your fiance and unborn child. he's awaiting trial, housed in a juvenile detention center in erie, pennsylvania. 230 miles. >> round trip. >> reporter: every day. >> every day. we were there over 1,000 times. >> reporter: prosecutor john bongivengo thinks he has his man -- or rather, his boy. jordan, just 11 years old, is charged with murder as an adult. >> under pennsylvania law you really don't have a choice. murder is specifically excluded from the juvenile act, so it's either not charged or he's charged as an adult. >> reporter: the punishment if convicted -- >> life in prison without the possibility of parole in an adult prison. >> we saw the headlines. i was appalled. >> reporter: jordan's case quickly draws attention from
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advocates like marsha levick of the juvenile law center, who joined forces with jordan's attorney in his defense. >> jordan would have been the youngest child ever to be sentenced to life without parole. >> reporter: did you, at 11, understand that you could face life in prison? >> no, i didn't understand anything at all, what was going on. >> once he was charged, this is all about getting it out of adult court and into juvenile court. >> there's no middle ground. he's either looking at life in prison or home in time to learn how to drive, which, when you think about that is just -- it's an amazing contrast. >> reporter: chris says with his focus on jordan's legal plight, his grief for the loss of kenzie and their unborn baby had to take a back seat. it was almost as if you couldn't take time to mourn her because you were so busy. >> no. i really, really haven't had a chance to grieve properly. >> reporter: the four-hour daily journey to see jordan is
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wreaking havoc on chris' finances. >> it cost me my job. and what money that i had coming in went into the gas tank and went into things that he needed. >> the visits were at 2:00 to 4:00 so i couldn't wait till 2:00. and even if they were, like, five minutes late, i used to get, like, antsy. then i never wanted to leave become you looking back now, though, i don't know what i would have done without him. it played a big role in keeping my head straight. >> reporter: you were 11, 12, along with, like, 17-year-old hardened defendants. >> yeah. >> reporter: did you see fights? >> like, every day, yeah. he would stay, dad, you wouldn't believe what i saw today. one kid threatened to stab another one in the neck, you know, while we were eating. >> reporter: on his 12th birthday, jordan's old football buddies come to visit. >> it was, like, the best day i ever had. i haven't seen my friends in so long and, you know, they all came up. and we were there for a couple hours. >> this was not an easy move to juvenile court. it's not like the court said,
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oh, you're 11. of course we'll move to juvenile court. these kinds of legal fights take a long time, sometimes years. >> reporter: in fact, years pass. jordan attends classes in detention, but says he was mainly self-taught. he bides his time absorbed in books. he would read them with a dictionary at his side. >> so if i would read something and come across a word i didn't know, look it up. that way i know what was trying to be said, and then that's how i read. >> reporter: what kinds of books did you like to read? >> i was a big fantasy reader. >> reporter: i take it it was a bit of an escape for you. >> it was. it was a whole different world. i was put myself in the book and -- >> reporter: pass the time. jordan's only time away from the detention center, for his court visits. >> i went from erie to court.
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i was shackled. >> i used to get so mad. an 11-year-old? an 11-year-old. he was 4'9". he was sitting there and his feet for swinging. he was sitting there, shackled, belted, handcuffed. unbelievable. >> reporter: throughout jordan's years in detention in erie, chris continues to ask his son, did you kill kenzie? >> i gave him every opportunity. jordan, listen, if something happens -- accidents happen, buddy. something happened, i'm not going to be mad at you. i'm your dad. i'm never not gonna be your dad. i'm never not gonna be here every day. >> reporter: and what did he say? >> never changed his story. maintained his innocence throughout from day one. >> reporter: obviously, the police believe that you killed kenzie. did you kill kenzie? >> no. >> reporter: kenzie's family remain convinced jordan is guilty and he should face maximum punishment. >> i'm hoping and hoping and
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hoping she's going to be charged as an adult because it's an adult crime. >> jordan's a murderer. and i'll say it. and his father needs to get in the mirror every morning and look in that mirror and say, i am the father of a murderer. >> reporter: august, 2011. two years after jordan's arrest. finally, a judge's ruling. and it's a big break for jordan. he will not be charged as an adult but as a juvenile. what was your reaction? >> i was greatly relieved. >> reporter: the stakes could not have been higher. >> could not have been higher. >> reporter: defense attorney dennis elisco brings on co-counsel steve colafella to help prepare for the juvenile trial. with those fresh eyes come some raised eyebrows. >> i really was expecting this overwhelming evidence forensics and --
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brown denying he shot kenzie houk in the bed as she slept. she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. >> reporter: it's been three years since jordan brown entered this pennsylvania detention center, so long that there's now a new prosecutor on the case. chris brown hasn't stopped hoping the scales of justice will finally tilt in his son's favor. >> he has total faith in both of his attorneys, and he believes that he's going eventually come home. >> reporter: but if pennsylvania investigators have their way, it will be years before jordan brown tastes freedom. >> there is not a trooper on scene that day that has lost one second of sleep over this case. >> reporter: in a murder trial that barely lasted three days, the case is decided by a jury of one, judge john hodge. >> once you have a bench trial,
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it's one person who's making that decision. >> reporter: judge hodge's verdict, swift and severe. jordan brown, by then 14 years old, guilty of double homicide. >> and pray that somehow through today -- >> the houk family's prayers were answered this afternoon when a judge announced a guilty verdict. >> reporter: it's a stunning gut punch for jordan brown and his legal team. >> when he came down and announce that had verdict, just looking at jordan, feeling like we had let him down and feeling like we had failed him, if and just feeling so sorry for him at that moment. >> reporter: but still convinced jordan brown is innocent, his lawyers vow to take their fight all the way to the supreme court of pennsylvania. >> he lost his childhood on a false conviction and he needs to be exonerated. >> reporter: jordan's lawyers begin picking apart the prosecution's case, starting with that youth model shotgun that authorities say smelled like it had recently been shot. >> those law enforcement officers who said that they smelled it was recently fired,
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they conceded that they had no expertise or training. >> reporter: and yet they dubbed it the smoking gun. >> correct. they dubbed it the smoking gun. >> reporter: you arrested an 11-year-old boy based on the smell of a recently shot shotgun and a shell casing that was found after he was arrested. >> and someone who was within feet and heard the blast. >> reporter: remember, that someone is kenzie's older daughter janessa, but it turns out the explosive statement she gave police, where she said she heard a boom right before they left for school, that bombshell was never entered into evidence at trial. janessa never testified. does it occur to you that maybe they didn't enter it into evidence because it wasn't reliable? >> no. no way, shape, or form. you're talking about a 7-year-old taking a stand in a courtroom. it had nothing to do with her being unreliable. >> all they really arrested him on, largely, was the statement of janessa. as time went on they completely
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abandoned that statement, which would have been the strongest evidence in the case, and rather tried to pursue a prosecution based upon this forensic evidence. >> reporter: but the forensic pickings are slim, starting with that shell casing they claim jordan tossed on his way to the school bus. >> on that property where they lived on a farm, there were shotgun shells all over the place. they routinely shot on that property. the discovery of that shell was not significant. >> reporter: and police were never able to prove jordan's shotgun was the murder weapon. >> all you can really say is it was this type of gun, but you can't definitively say it was this gun. >> reporter: also curious is the fact that there was no blood or tissue, also known as blowback, found on jordan's gun. >> the absence of any tissue or blood on his clothing, on the barrel of the gun, it's almost inconceivable that you could suggest that a shotgun was fired at close range, and it wouldn't deposit any tissue, any blood on
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the barrel of the gun or on his clothing, which he wore to school. it was appalling to me that they seemingly just ignored that fact throughout the case. >> reporter: but the prosecution's expert testified that the angle at which the gun was shot could have minimized the blowback. and the police have their own theory. >> our theory is that the blowback would have been stopped, most of it, if not all of it, from the hair of kenzie. >> reporter: you think hair would stop the blowback of a shotgun blast? >> between the hair and the fold in the skin with the direction it was pulled back, yes. >> reporter: but those seasoned investigators, who admit they rarely work on murder cases, insist they have the goods on jordan brown. why did you arrest him at 3:30 in the morning? >> because we wanted to do a search warrant on his clothes also. >> reporter: and what did you find on his clothes? >> they discovered gunshot residue and gunshot particles on his shirt and pants. >> reporter: the defense argues
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that gunpowder came from a jacket jordan wore at a turkey shoot days earlier. and the prosecution's own expert says it was just as likely those two particles of gunshot residue could've transferred to jordan's clothes. which leaves jordan's legal team with one big question -- where is the physical evidence? in order for this perfect storm of a crime to have happened with the 11-year-old as the trigger man, what would have had to take place? >> this is precisely what would have had to have happened -- jordan brown was sitting with his stepsister janessa in a room adjacent to the room where the victim was sleeping, run upstairs, grab a shotgun, load it with a shotgun shell, walk over to the bed, place that shotgun up against her head, pull that trigger, kill her, somehow manage to wipe whatever bodily fluid or blood might have been contained on the end of that gun, take it upstairs, replace it along the wall. remove the shell, run downstairs while her sister presumably was waiting for him. all without leaving a single clue.
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>> reporter: and jordan's lawyers say the police timeline means it all happened within a couple of minutes. >> an 11-year-old child can't make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and drink a glass of milk without leaving clues. >> reporter: and tonight, a brand new witness. kenzie's younger daughter, adalynn, 4 at the time, now 13. coming forward with an account that flies in the face of the police timeline. >> mother, you fill my life with happiness and my heart with love. the gunshot was what had woke me up. i was so young. i did not know what the sound was. i was just gonna walk in to wake her up, and her phone rang. i went and answered the phone. and i was like, "hi." and they were like, "can i talk to your mother?" i went in to wake her up. and her face was facing me. i was just like, "hey, mom, wake up." and when i turned her over, i realized. so i hung up the phone and went outside. >> reporter: a treetrimmer spots adalynn sometime after 9:00 a.m. if you go according to adalynn's recollection, jordan and janessa
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would've have been long gone on the school bus when kenzie was killed. >> and i just sat there and cried with my little blanket. >> reporter: her family says adalynn's shared bits of her story over the years, but it's something neither police nor jordan's defense team have ever heard. his lawyers say her timeline means jordan wasn't there, but we asked an investigator to respond, who says after so many years he finds her account not credible. so this is the casing? but we wonder if the time line falls a part, what about the forensics? did you ever check his hands for gunshot residue? >> we did not. >> reporter: can you tell me why no one dusted for fingerprints on the unlocked doors? >> i don't know if it wasn't done. >> reporter: it was never reported. >> because when this initially happened, they didn't know what it was and they were gonna try to save her. and they actually try to save her to give her cpr. >> reporter: so a bunch of people went in and out. >> yes. >> reporter: so you're saying the crime scene was contaminated. >> the door. >> reporter: so you never got
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fingerprints off the door? >> and we fingerprinted a gun, there was no fingerprints on the gun either. fingerprints are very hard, because you need a very perfectly good fingerprint that wasn't moved when it touched something. >> reporter: fall 2017. more than eight years after his arrest, jordan brown's legal team will finally have their case heard by the supreme court of pennsylvania. >> i pray this never happens to another child. >> reporter: when we come back, what justice looks like for oh! oh! oh! ♪ ozempic®! ♪ (announcer) people with type 2 diabetes are excited about the potential of once-weekly ozempic®. in a study with ozempic®, a majority of adults lowered their blood sugar and reached an a1c of less than seven and maintained it.
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>> reporter: summer 2018. the stage is set for the final showdown at the pennsylvania supreme court in the topsy-turvy legal case against jordan brown.
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>> the judges are being asked to rule that jordan brown was wrongly found guilty on insufficient evidence. >> reporter: since his arrest for murder in 2009, the now almost 21-year-old jordan spent seven of his summers behind under lock and key. he was released from detention at 18. but this past july, a stunning victory for the browns and the two lawyers who worked the case pro bono. pennsylvania's highest court sides with jordan, writing that the commonwealth of the pennsylvania failed to prove jordan brown guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. his conviction overturned. >> now jordan is a man. and a free one. >> the truth finally got out. >> it is incredibly rare for a supreme court to say that there is simply not enough evidence here. it's not that the court is saying 100% he's innocent. but the court is saying that there's certainly not enough evidence to convict. >> reporter: during his
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incarceration, jordan says he maintained a 3.9 gpa and taught himself to play guitar. he also became a pretty good basketball player. and through it all, he says he harbors no ill will. >> no, i'm not angry. i think the whole, like, what happened and the way it happened is b.s. can i say that? >> reporter: yes, you can say that. >> but i don't think i'm angry. >> reporter: how do you explain to somebody what that's like, to be accused of murder? >> well, being accused of it is just a horrible feeling. it's really embarrassing. like, being in front of people and then not knowing what they're thinking. >> reporter: because people thought you were a murderer. >> yeah. >> reporter: and, in fact, kenzie's family still believes that jordan is guilty. >> i'm heartbroken. my heart goes out to them. >> reporter: you think that this accusation led to a real killer
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getting away with murder. >> absolutely. and that's disturbing. there's a murderer walking amongst us that has been overlooked. >> reporter: if those troopers were standing right here, what would you say to them? >> shame on you, is probably the most polite way to put it. you took an 11-year-old's childhood away from him. you've ruined his name, in essence. i mean, you google jordan brown, and you get that mugshot picture that pops up. >> this case was investigated by some of the finest police officers in this country. every trooper who investigated that case feels the same way. we did not get this wrong. we didn't get it wrong. >> reporter: as for kenzie's daughters, they cling tightly to the memory of their beloved mom. >> we used to dance and sing on the fireplace. that was my favorite memory. i'm just like her. i'm her little mini me. >> reporter: through the years of controversy, one truth never
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up for debate. kenzie and her unborn child will remain forever in their hearts. >> i still love her. i miss her every day. >> reporter: today, jordan brown is determined to leave his checkered past behind and focus on brighter days ahead. >> that song i just played was called "she talks to angels." by the black crows. >> reporter: and what do you want to tell the world about you? >> that i'm innocent. that's, like, the only thing i really want people to know. ♪ >> jordan is currently a sophomore in college studying computer skooins. >> that's "20/20" for tonight. thanks for watching. i'm david muir. >> and i'm amy robach. from all of us at "20/20" and abc news, good night.
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