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Dr. Drew

Driven by current events, "Dr. Drew" on HLN focuses on the human - and human behavior - at the center of the story.

Exclusive: Josh Gouker's jailhouse letter

  • Trey Zwicker, 14, was found beaten to death in 2011
  • Gouker, Trey Zwicker's stepfather and Joshua Young's father, had pleaded guilty to stepson's murder
  • Young is charged with 'complicity to murder' in the death

Josh Gouker testified Monday about what role his son Joshua Young may have had in the 2011 beating death of 14-year-old Trey Zwicker.  

Gouker, Zwicker's stepfather, has already admitted to killing him and is serving time for the crime. However, Gouker said Young was the killer in one of his initial statements two years ago. He later explained that if his son took the blame as a minor, Young would probably get a lesser sentence.

Young, though, who was 15 at the time of the Zwicker’s death, is charged with complicity to murder and complicity to tampering with evidence.

Earlier this year, Robin Gunter, Young's aunt and Gouker's former sister-in-law, received a letter from Gouker while he was awaiting his trial for his stepson’s murder. He wrote about his son Joshua.  

In part, it says, "I’m truly alone in trying to save him. His life is on the line … It doesn't matter if the whole world thinks I'm wrong for doing it.  He's a good kid.  He's been dealt a sh**ty hand … That I went to prison didn't help.  I do know that a lot of this [is] my fault. I wish I would've grown up faster."

He adds, "So many people are trying to 'jump' on his case and hurt him … It's like I'm in a game of chess with known and unknown opponents … It's easy to say that you'll die for somebody, but I wonder how many people actually follow through with it? I've gotta do whatever it takes to save him."  

After issuing his plea on May 10, 2011, Gouker told the judge he "snapped" when he was confronting, later killing, his stepson over stealing a lighter and a plate of food from him.

Gouker also said that he killed the 14-year-old to punish his ex-wife Amanda McFarland, Zwicker's mother, for allegedly aborting the babies Gouker and her were having while they were still together.

Gouker has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Dr. Drew On Call airs Monday through Thursday on HLN at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Facebook and Twitter @DrDrewHLN.

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