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US boy held for trial in death of dad's fiancee

world Updated: Mar 25, 2009 12:48 IST
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The clothing of an 11-year-old accused of killing his father's pregnant fiance had gunshot residue on it, a state trooper testified on Tuesday at his preliminary hearing, where the boy was held for trial.

Trooper Troy Scott Steinheiser testified the clothing was taken from Jordan Brown the evening of Feb 20, the day Kenzie Marie Houk, 26, was found dead in the bedroom of the farmhouse in Wampum, where she lived with her two daughters, Brown and his father, Christopher Brown.

Tests revealed the residue, Steinheiser testified. Another trooper, Sgt Kenneth Markilinski, testified that he found a 20-gauge shotgun in Brown's upstairs bedroom and it smelled as though it had recently been fired.

Investigators contend that Brown placed the youth-model shotgun, a Christmas gift from his father, to Houk's head as she slept and shot her once, killing her and causing her unborn son to die of a lack of oxygen. The fetus was nearly full-term. Brown is charged with two counts of homicide.

At least one other case of a child allegedly killing a family member is making its way through the courts. In Arizona, an 8-year-old boy is charged in the shooting deaths of his father and another man.

The boy's father, Vincent Romero, a 29-year-old employee of a construction company, and his co-worker and roommate, Timothy Romans, 39, were shot with a .22-caliber rifle.

In Pennsylvania, Houk's family has suggested that Brown was envious of Houk, but one of his attorneys has dismissed that claim and said there was no animosity.

Brown was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed and shackled to a belt on his waist. He appeared to sit calmly throughout the two-hour hearing.

Defense attorneys said they need more evidence to understand what happened. Brown denies shooting Houk, defense attorney Dennis Elisco said. "There's never been an admission," he said. Christopher Brown attended the hearing but did not speak to reporters. No trial date has been set.