A Kentucky man acquitted in 2013 for the murder of his brother wrote a four-page letter this month, claiming he’s “ready to get the truth out,” while his father, who took the fall for the crime, is serving life in prison.
ABC 11 Louisville reports that 23-year-old Josh Young (pictured left) was 15 when a jury acquitted him of murder charges, stemming from the death of his stepbrother, Trey Zwicker, 14 (pictured right). Young’s step-brother was found beaten to death behind Liberty High School in Louisville in May 2011.
In 2013, Young’s father, Josh Gouker, told the court he was the one who killed Zwicker and that he acted alone. According to Young’s letter, however, his father’s confession was false. ABC 11 obtained the letter, which details how Young said he killed his step-brother.
Josh Gouker does not even glance at his son when brought into the courtroom. pic.twitter.com/ionn8SrexD
— Stephan Johnson (@SJohnsonWDRB) August 5, 2013
“On May 11, I murdered Trey Zwicker, murdered him alone. It was not planned, it was not a plot, and there was nobody else involved in any kind of way. I acted alone and by my father’s lies and him admitting to a murder he had no involvement in–I was spared a life sentence and granted freedom.”
Josh Young Letters by on Scribd
Young also wrote that he was facing charges as an adult and with the possibility of life in prison looming in front of him, Gouker covered for him.
“I just snapped. I hit him and he went down,” Gouker said in a Louisville court in May 2013.
“I stepped on his hand, pulled the bar. He still had the bar in his hand. I hit him again. Before I knew it, it was over.”
Gouker said he used a pipe to beat the boy to death as way to get back at his ex, Zwicker’s mother. He said he then hide the pipe and his bloody clothes, according to court documents.
“It just felt right. I know it sounds monstrous and all that [expletive], but it’s not. If we was in the Old Testament, it’d be the same thing,” Gouker said during his trial, according to CBS Louisville.
A year later, Gouker apparently changed his mind. He tried unsuccessfully to vacate his conviction, claiming he was coerced into a plea.
A young boy is accused of helping kill his 14-yr-old brother–but was he involved or just a pawn to his dad's game w/ cops? #BabyFaceKiller?
— Nancy Grace (@NancyGrace) July 30, 2013
Young, who has been in and out of jail for various charges since his step-brother’s death, appeared on the “Dr. Phi” show in 2014. At the time, he told Dr. Phil that his father tried to frame him for murder and continued to claim he was innocent.
In the letter, Young described how he “fooled” Dr. Phil, who apparently looked the then-teen in the eyes and said he could “see his innocence.”
Young wrote the letter from behind bars. He’s currently serving time for a weapons charge at the Grayson County Detention Center. While his motive behind writing the letter is unclear, he mentioned that he would consider selling his story “to the highest bidder” or working with an author to create his biography.
Meanwhile, Young’s confession doesn’t necessarily mean his father will get out of prison. Prosecutors reportedly think the pair acted together.
It also doesn’t mean Young will now be charged with murder, considering the double jeopardy law, legal experts told ABC 11. Authorities could possibly charge Young with perjury, but there is also the chance they won’t.
“Yes, this situation does fall under double jeopardy, meaning no, Young cannot be tried again for the murder of Zwicker after a jury already acquitted him of the murder charge. But that doesn’t mean prosecutors won’t look for another way to charge him.”
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Jacob Young; Trey Zwicker/Police Handout]