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Openings begin in Joshua Young trial

  • Trey Zwicker was found beaten to death in 2011
  • Zwicker's stepfather received a life sentence Friday for the murder
  • Opening statements in stepbrother Joshua Young's trial are set to begin Wednesday
Openings begin in Joshua Young trial

Attorneys in the Joshua Young trial selected 15 jurors Tuesday -- five men and 10 women. Three of them, picked at random, will ultimately be alternates.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning after the jury is sworn in.

Young is charged with murder for his alleged involvement in the 2011 beating death of his stepbrother, Trey Zwicker.

The 17-year-old is set to be tried as an adult in the Jefferson County Circuit Court in Louisville, Kentucky.

The potential jurors were asked about a wide range of issues Wednesday, including their thoughts on Young being tried as an adult.

Most of the candidates said they didn't have an issue with his age. One woman asked if Young's sentence would change if he were charged as a minor. One man asked how old Young was at the time of the crime. When attorneys responded by telling him Young was 15, the potential juror said, "Not 16? I'll have to think about that."

Another woman asked how the decision on whether to try a defendant as a minor or as an adult is made.

One adult has already tried to take the blame for Zwicker’s death. Gouker, Zwicker’s stepdad and Young’s biological father, was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Prosecutors are expected to call Gouker to the stand to testify in Young’s trial Thursday.

After issuing his guilty 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 Zwicker 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.'"

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.

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

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