Marie Houk, a pregnant mother, was found dead by her four-year-old daughter. The killer appears to be the son of her boyfriend who will reportedly face adult murder charges — despite the fact that Jordon Brown is 11 years old. He reportedly went to school after killing Houk in a farmhouse in western Pennsylvania.
The child was charged with one count each of criminal homicide and homicide of an unborn child. In Pennsylvania, anyone over the age of 10 accused of murder or homicide is charged as an adult and can face life in prison.
He appears to have used a youth model 20-gauge shotgun — a gun designed to be used by young children. There are a considerable number of options for kiddie guns. Some sites prefer to call them “small statured shooters.” In states like South Dakota, the trend has been to lower the age to as low as 10 for hunters. Children as low as eight have received gun permits, as discussed in here and here in the United States and England. Some ministers have called on parents substituting video games for gun lessons as a wholesome alternatives.
The idea of treating an 11-year-old as an adult in such case is unfathomable but not uncommon. It remains one of the continuing points of conflict with other Western nations. The Supreme Court ruled in 2005 that states cannot execute murderers under the age of 18 over the objections of many conservative leaders.
What is fascinating is the desire to continue to treat children as adults despite recent research showing that human brains do not fully function until in their late teens. Specifically areas of the brain used to judge risk and make judgments are affected.