Gouker takes stand in son's murder trial
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There was graphic testimony Monday in the trial of Joshua Young, accused of complicity to murder and tampering with physical evidence in the death of his 14-year-old stepbrother, Terrance "Trey" Zwicker two years ago.
Zwicker's body was found in a wooded area behind Liberty High School in May 2011. He had been beaten to death. Zwicker's stepfather (and Young's biological father), Joshua Gouker, confessed to killing Zwicker. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years.
Prosecutors argue they believe Joshua Young helped his father kill Zwicker.
As the testimony continued Monday, Angelique Burkhead took the stand as a witness for the prosecution. She says she was on a road trip with Gouker and Young after Zwicker's body was found. At some point during the trip while they were in a hotel, Burkhead testified that she heard: "Little Josh did it, used a Slugger."
Burkhead claimed she overheard that conversation in a hotel room in Tennessee. That's when she says she became scared and left. Before leaving, she says Young told her "I beat the hell out of him (Zwicker)."
Burkhead and another woman, Jahaira Friend, have now both told jurors that Young admitted killing his stepbrother.
On Friday, Friend told jurors she and a friend (Burkhead) accompanied Gouker and Young to Tennessee to go swimming at a hotel. She claims that Gouker had a gun and later forced a woman to drive them to Alabama, before police caught up with them.
Earlier on Friday, defense attorneys called Dr. George Nichols, a former chief medical examiner from Kentucky.
Nichols said, based on Zwicker's injuries, it was possible that Zwicker could have been killed by one person. As graphic photos were shown in court, Young became emotional, putting his head into his hand as he was consoled by a social worker.
After objections from the prosecution, the judge allowed jurors to hear a taped phone call between Gouker and Burkhead on June 22, 2011. Young's attorney told jurors those calls "are the only reason my client is sitting here charged with murder."
Burkhead admitted to police in Alabama over the phone that Young told her in their hotel room that he killed Zwicker. She also told the detective she was afraid of what would happen to Gouker, and that's why she initially lied about Young's confession.
Joshua Gouker was called to testify just after 10:30 a.m. When asked by prosecutors why he killed Zwicker, Gouker replied: "his mother killed a couple of mine -- it just felt right."
At one point, Gouker swore at the prosecutor, saying: "You are trying to put microscopic hole in [EXPLETIVE] I didn't give a [EXPLETIVE] about two years ago."
Under questioning, Gouker, who seemed to smirk as he answered questions, told jurors he asked Zwicker "if he wanted to smoke a blunt" the night of the murder. He also refused to deny allegedly conflicting stories he's told in the past, telling the court, "I am a [EXPLETIVE] liar" and adding that he lied about everything before he was indicted.
He said Young hated Zwicker, the murder victim, and admitted that Young had claimed to have killed Zwicker.
Gouker also took a shot at the detectives assigned to the case, stating that, "It's not easy to be a mastermind when you are dealing with dumb people."
He also told the court that he had planned on killing Amanda.
At one point, the jury asked Gouker: "Do you love your son, Josh Young?"
Gouker replied, "You have to understand, I didn't even really know him."
When the jury asked Gouker if he would give his life for Young, he said "no." He also said that Young did not help him with Zwicker's murder.
Gouker's testimony ended shortly after 12 p.m.
We'll have a live update from Paige Quiggins on WDRB News at 11:30. And you can follow her up-to-the-minute coverage on Twitter @PaigeWDRB.
- Testimony continues in trial accused in stepbrother's death
- Gouker sentenced to life for Trey Zwicker's murder
- Gouker pleads guilty to all charges
- Attorney compares Joshua Gouker to Mel Ignatow
- Gouker to judge: "I'm completely competent"
- WDRB News interviews Joshua Gouker
- Gouker tells judge he -- not his son -- killed 14-year-old
- Gouker, Young indicted for murder of 14-year-old
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