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Boy accused in pregnant woman's death to be tried as a juvenile

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A 13-year-old boy is suspected in the death of his father's pregnant fiancee
  • If convicted, he could be held in custody until he turns 21
  • No trial date has been scheduled

(CNN) -- Reversing an earlier decision, a Pennsylvania judge ruled on Tuesday that a boy accused of killing his father's pregnant fiancee will be tried as a juvenile, according to the offices of the boy's attorneys and a spokesman for prosecutors.

The boy, 13, is suspected in the death of Kenzie Houk, who was eight months pregnant when she and her unborn child were killed.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Dominick Motto reversed an earlier decision to try the boy as an adult after a Superior Court said that Motto could not rule based on the boy's refusal to take responsibility for his actions.

State attorney general's office spokesman Nils Frederiksen declined immediate comment on the case.

The boy was arrested in February 2009 after police say he shot Houk, 26, once at point-blank range in her farmhouse in western Pennsylvania. He was 11 years old at the time of the shooting.

CNN does not typically identify suspects under the age of 18.

Houk's 4-year-old daughter found her in her bed, according to police. The child alerted landscapers working near the home, who called authorities.

The weapon was a youth model 20-gauge shotgun, designed for use by children, that belonged to the boy, according to investigators.

If convicted as a juvenile, he could be held in custody until he turns 21. If the boy had been tried as an adult, he could have faced life in prison. No trial date has been scheduled.

InSession's Chris Perry contributed to this report.