The Trial Divas have been researching and digging our manicured nails into the case of Joshua Young. The more we read the more we realized how complicated and heartbreaking this case is. To give you some history let’s start with the defendant, Joshua Young, he’s a 17 year old charged with “complicity to murder” and “complicity to tampering with physical evidence” and he’s going to stand trial as an adult in the murder of his 14 year old step brother, Trey Zwicker. Looking back at Joshua’s life he didn’t have it easy as a young boy, he was growing up in an abusive home with a neglectful mother. In fact Joshua’s mother in June of 2010 died of a drug overdose leaving Joshua without a caretaker. His father, Joshua Gouker, was serving a prison sentence at the time and Joshua was floated to relatives and foster care. With numerous investigations by child welfare officials Joshua was finally moved into Susan and Chuck Stoneburger home for seven months. The stability was just what Joshua needed and he was beginning to thrive. Joshua for the first time was doing very well in school, excelling in fact..he was happy and talked a lot about what his future would bring. His foster mom Susan made a statement at a court hearing that “He’s very, very talented. We talked a lot about computers and his future with them because he was so talented.”
These happy times were short lived for Joshua because his father “Big Josh” was released from prison in September of 2010 after serving 8 years of a 15 year sentence. Within days he was trying to regain custody of his son and did so in March of 2011. This did nothing but disturb Joshua Young’s stable home life. Joshua’s dad Gouker was by no means a good parent. The stable home he had promised was filled with domestic violence, inappropriate sexual activity, drugs and alcohol abuse by adults and children. Joshua was moved into a home with Gouker, a step mom and step brother Trey Zwicker. Among the allegations in court records: Gouker showed Trey and Joshua videos of himself engaged in sexual acts and regularly gave them drugs. For example, on Easter he would conceal marijuana in Easter eggs for the kids. In the 2 months Joshua lived with his father, 14 year old Trey Zwicker would wind up murdered, beaten to death with a lead pipe, stabbed, and left outside in a watery ditch at Liberty High School in May 2011. He was discovered by his fellow students the next day.
Lets take a moment to read who Trey was..Trey Zwicker was a 14 year old, freshman and honor student, “a shining light” who loved fishing according to his father. Trey was staying with his mom for a few days while his father wrapped up work and the father and son were planning on going fishing together all weekend but that trip would never happen. Trey kept quiet about all the violence that was happening at his moms house, not telling his dad how bad it really was. Trey was loved by family and friends alike and his murder has rocked the town of Louisville, KY.
Soon Police zeroed in on Josh Gouker Sr. he was caught in Alabama after he and Joshua fled worried about arrest in the death of Trey. After Gouker’s own arrest in Alabama he immediately told police his own son had killed Trey. Josuha Young has denied murdering Trey and “Big Josh” has now changed his tune saying he blamed Joshua because he thought his son would get less time as a juvenile and it would keep his own butt out of prison. Little did he know, or maybe not even care, the state would go after his son and charge him as an adult. The state not only went after Joshua Young they went after Gouker charging him with murder. Finally in July of 2012 Joshua Young’s father, Joshua Gouker is charged with murder, wanton endangerment and unlawful transaction with a minor, tampering with physical evidence, torture of a dog or cat and persistent felony offender.
In August of 2012 Gouker, is arraigned on a charge of murder. He blurts out to the judge that he killed Trey and acted alone. According to Josh Gouker on May 10, 2011, he accused Trey of stealing his lighter..he confessed to killing his stepson after smoking pot, playing video games and fighting over the lighter. Gouker says he just “lost it” and began beating Trey behind Liberty High School with a metal pipe, not a bat, as first thought. “I just snapped. I hit him, he went down and I stepped on his hand. I pulled the bar in his hand and I hit him and before I knew it, it was over,” said Gouker in court. Trey was also stabbed and neither murder weapons have been recovered. Police believe Gouker wanted Trey dead as revenge after the teen’s mother aborted their baby. Trey’s mother spoke in court saying “He doesn’t deserve pity, he doesn’t deserve mercy, Judge, I beg you: sentence him to the most severe sentence possible. He has nothing to contribute to society. He leaves nothing but a path of destruction.” The Judge addressed Gouker during sentencing saying “It just amazes me that you sit there with a smirk on your face, and you smile through the whole process, knowing the pain that you’ve caused these people, I hope I never set eyes on you again.” In July of 2013 Gouker was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole in 20 years.
Now it’s Joshua’s turn to stand trial. Most of the details of the case were sealed due to Joshua being a juvenile so we are in for some new details on what the state has against Young. Some believe he was a victim of his upbringing, swayed into committing this crime by his bully father who had a lot of power over the vulnerable minor. Others believe Joshua is a cold blooded killer and should be punished just like his father was for the heinous crime that was committed against Trey. Jury selection for the case has wrapped up and opening statements are expected to start July 31st. The Trial Divas will provide a link to the live stream as soon as we get it. This case is complex and with a minor involved being charged as an adult should strike up some good discussions. So until next time….The Trial Divas…
Joshua Young’s Complete Interview with Police