Joshua Young on trial for stepbrother's death

NEED TO KNOW
  • Trey Zwicker was found beaten to death in 2011
  • Zwicker's stepfather received a life sentence Friday for the murder
  • Jury selection in stepbrother Joshua Young's trial is set to begin today
Joshua Young on trial for stepbrother's death

Three days after a Louisville, Kentucky, father was sentenced in the 2011 beating death of his 14-year-old stepson, jury selection will get under way Monday for the victim's stepbrother, who is charged with murder.


Josh Gouker, the stepdad, was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.


After issuing his plea on May 10, Gouker told the court he became enraged after his stepson, Trey Zwicker, stole some food and a lighter from him. He said he hit him with a pipe.


"I just snapped. I hit him. He went down," Gouker testifed. "Before I knew it, it was over."


Gouker said he had only meant to teach the boy a lesson.


"In the back of my mind, I'm getting tired of him stealing [expletive] so I'm just going to scare him," said Gouker. "I told him, 'The next time you steal from me, I'm going to treat you like a man.'"


High school students in Louisville made the gruesome discovery in May of 2011 of  Zwicker's broken body in a ditch near their school.


Joshua Young, 17, Gouker's biological son, is set to be tried as an adult for Zwicker's death in Jefferson County Circuit Court. The charge of "complicity to murder" means prosecutors believe Young either solicited Zwicker's death or acted in concert with Goucker to kill Zwicker.


When Gouker pleaded guilty to Zwicker's slaying, he tried to deflect blame away from his son.


"He didn't have anything to do with it," Gouker told the judge.


But before changing his plea, Gouker had blamed his son for the killing.


Pete Schuler, Young's attorney, told the Louisville Courier-Journal Gouker has "zero credibility" and Young is "innocent because he is innocent, not because Gouker" now says so.


Recorded statements made by Gouker have not been helpful to Young's case.


During a recorded jailhouse visitation with his mother, Gouker told her he was going to take the fall for his son.


"So look, bottom line is, I'm just going to take one off the chin and goddamn it, Josh better not leave me," said Gouker, according to HLN affiliate WLKY, which obtained the audio.


"I said 'Josh, if they catch us, you just act crazy. You're a minor and you won't get no time'," Gouker told WHAS in an August 2012 jailhouse interview.


Zwicker's biological father is convinced Young played a large role in his son's tragic death.


"Josh Young is just as guilty as Gouker. He was standing right there," said Terry Zwicker. "I don't anticipate ever really knowing the truth. I just anticipate justice being served. It's a slow process, but at the end of the road, I think I'm gonna be happy with what I see."

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