The Joshua Young trial is over. The WLKY video shows the 17-year-old react to the reading of the not guilty verdict Friday night in a Louisville, Kentucky courtroom.
Young was on trial on for murder and destroying evidence after police accused him of helping his father Joshua Gouker kill his 14-year-old stepbrother Trey Zwicker. Young was only 15 years old on May 11, 2011 when Zwicker’s bloody, beaten body was found in a ditch.
Gouker has since confessed to taking Zwicker to the creek and beating him to death. There’s another video below that shows part of Gouker’s chilling statement about the murder.
But the short version is that Gouker was angry at Zwicker’s mother for aborting their own baby. So he lured her son Trey Zwicker to the creek and beat him to death.
Soon thereafter, he tried to set up his own son for the bloody crime.
It was an emotional moment for Joshua Young, who has spent two years fighting to prove his innocence. Now he can join his foster family who has been waiting to give him a new life.
The Kentucky Courier-Journal noted that one of the teen’s attorneys, Pete Schuler, said that the case shouldn’t have been prosecuted in the first place — especially since Gouker had already confessed to the set-up and was already in prison for the crime.
Trey Zwicker’s family was angry. Zwicker’s stepmother Leeda Zwicker came forward to state that Joshua Young’s attorney had approached them about a plea deal. She said an innocent person wouldn’t do that.
But Schuler said the deal would have been for an Alford plea. In other words, the teen wouldn’t have admitted guilt to the murder. He would have only agreed that he believed the jury had enough evidence to convict him. In exchange for ending the trial, Joshua Young would have been released from jail.
It wasn’t a deal that Zwicker’s family could accept. And ultimately it was a deal that Young didn’t need.
Here’s the background video with Gouker talking about how he committed the murder of Trey Zwicker. Although the murder weapon was never found, there’s really no doubt that Gouker did indeed beat Zwicker to death. The only question was whether or not Young also helped him cover up the crime.
The outcome of Joshua Young’s trial turned on whether the jury believed he was a victim of his father’s manipulations. Clearly they did.
[bloody thumbnail by Steve Collender via Shutterstock]