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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Joshua Young's family paints a picture of an innocent boy whose life has been ruined by a father he barely knew. Young's uncle claims he would know if the 17-year-old had anything to do with Trey Zwicker's death.
"He wrote me a letter and the first letter I received from him when he was locked up was, 'I don't know what everybody has told you but Uncle Rodney,' he said, 'I didn't do this,'" said Young's uncle, Rodney Gunter.
Rodney Gunter says he was the father figure in Joshua Young's life claiming his biological dad, Joshua Gouker, was never around.
"Gouker and my little sister got married and they had Josh -- short-lived relationship," said Gunter.
Gunter says Josh had a normal childhood until he turned 14. That's when his mother died of a drug overdose. His dad had been in prison since he was 3. Josh and his younger sister were placed in foster care when their mother died. They landed in a stable home and were doing well in school. But shortly after Gouker was released from prison, he was granted custody of his son.
"He barely knew the guy. His whole life he's only been around him 3 months," said Gunter.
Two months later, his stepbrother Trey Zwicker was found murdered.
"I think they used him as a patsy," said Gunter.
For the past two years, Gunter has visited his nephew in a Youth Detention Center.
"He's 17-years-old now. He spent 25 months locked up for something he didn't do. He just don't understand why his biological father turned on him, he said.
In that time, Gunter says his nephew's account of what happened that night has never changed -- that Josh was at Gouker's cousin's house when the murder happened.
"I've been in that boy's life his whole life, he would have told me. With every ounce of my being I believe he was not involved in it at all," said Gunter.