A Lawrence County judged ruled Monday that a 12-year-old boy accused of killing his father's fiancee and unborn child last year must be tried as an adult.
Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick Motto ruled that the crime Jordan Brown is accused of is too heinous for the juvenile courts, especially since the boy has yet to take responsibility for it.
Taking responsibility for a crime he hasn't been convicted of would be an interesting development for anyone, regardless of their age. The prosecution's psychiatrist was particularly offended by the boy's "evasiveness." This has had some bearing on Judge Motto's ruling.
The judge's decision compounds an already tragic situation for two families shattered by the shotgun death of 26-year-old Kenzie Houk and her unborn son. Even though he lost his fiancee and unborn son to an act of unspeakable violence, Christopher Brown continues to stand by his accused son.
Jordan Brown could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as an adult. He would have the dubious distinction of being the youngest person in the country to serve a life sentence.
If convicted as a juvenile, Jordan Brown would be held only until his 21st birthday after undergoing years of therapy and rehabilitation Judge Motto isn't convinced would be nearly enough.
There aren't many good options in a case like this, but there are many bad choices. Trying a 12-year-old as an adult is one of them.
Guilt or innocence aside, Jordan Brown is obviously an angry, troubled child -- not an adult. Petulance and resentment are natural for his age, but it is magnified by the seriousness of the crime.
Though accused of a brutal murder, Jordan Brown is not an adult. He should be judged in the most appropriate category, not the most convenient one. He's young, but he deserves justice, too.