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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Murder suspect Joshua Gouker surprised his attorney and the judge with a courtroom confession Monday, claiming he acted alone in killing his stepson, Trey Zwicker.
"Your Honor, I just wanted to say I didn't help anyone kill Trey," Joshua Gouker told a judge Monday. "I just wanted to say I killed him myself."
Gouker's 16-year-old biological son, Joshua Young, is also charged in Zwicker's death, but on Monday Gouker appeared to try to take full responsibility for the murder. The judge cut him off, and a public defender, Don Major, entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment in Jefferson Circuit Court.
Zwicker was 14 when he was beaten to death. His body was found behind Liberty High School in May 2011. Police had said that
The prosecutor told WDRB News that she believes Gouker's courtroom confession could be a ploy to protect Young.
"We have charged them with complicity to murder, we believe they were both involved," said Elizabeth Jones Brown, an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney.
For Terry Zwicker, Trey's father, the courtroom outburst Monday was a reminder he can't change what happened to his son or what happens in future court proceedings.
"It eats me alive. It sets off my nerves so bad to where my whole body feels like its girating. I'm helpless, it's like I can't do nothing. If I could I'd jump right through the TV set. But I can't," said Terry Zwicker.
Zwicker admits Gouker's confession "takes some pressure off" but he believes it was just antics.
"We have no guarantee for that going anywhere. That's just acting out," he said in an interview Monday night with WDRB News.
In newly released phone calls between Gouker and his mother, Gouker hinted to family members that he planned to take the fall for the Trey's murder.
Ruby (Gouker's mother): "All that matters is that my grandson comes home unharmed."
Gouker: "That's the goal... any little victory I can get along the way."
"I stuck to it, I'm hysterical, Amanda was hysterical, (Young) is in passion and he didn't stick to it. (Expletive) I don't know. But now, he just needs to sit there and don't say a (expletive) word. Make them prove it... nobody can prove it.
"So bottom line man, I'm just gonna take this one on the chin. And (expetive) damnit... Josh better not leave me."
Last week, we heard phone calls from Gouker in jail, plotting to save his son from being convicted of murder. His conversations in jail conflict with what he said in court on Monday.
On the phone, Gouker said he said he did not kill Zwicker, but that he would, "make it right....to cover up for his son."
But prosecutors say evidence indicates that Gouker planned the murder, and his son, Joshua Young, committed it. Prosecutor Elizabeth Jones Brown says, "We have charged them with complicity to murder, we believe they were both involved. What he said was that Josh Young had nothing to do with it today in court, and that's not what we believe the evidence shows."
Young has pleaded not guilty to Zwicker's murder.
Gouker will be back in court mid-September for a pre-trial conference.