KY teens murder case turns into two separate petition drives - News, Weather & Sports

KY teens murder case turns into two separate petition drives; gets international attention

15-year-old Josh Young will be tried as an adult for Trey Zwicker's murder. 15-year-old Josh Young will be tried as an adult for Trey Zwicker's murder.
Trey Zwicker was found murdered in May of 2011. Trey Zwicker was found murdered in May of 2011.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The case against 15-year-old Joshua Young has now taken to the internet, with two very different petitions sparking an international interest.

Young is behind bars and will be charged as an adult for the May, 2011 murder of 14-year-old Trey Zwicker.  Zwicker's body was found beaten and stabbed to death near Liberty High School by students working on a class project.

Young was Zwicker's step-brother, and questions have swirled about whether Young's father, Joshua Gouker, was involved in Trey Zwicker's murder.

Joshua Gouker's own mother told WAVE 3 News she believes Gouker is responsible for Trey's death -- not Josh Young, which is her grandson.

"I still say 'little Josh' is not to blame. He did not do it.  I believe his father did it with all his heart and soul and I now my son with all my soul," Ruby Jessie said.

She says she believes Gouker did it out of retaliation, to get back at his estranged wife.

"He and Amanda were having really bad problems. She aborted two of his kids in 2000 and one of their marriages and he felt like it was a child for a child," Jessie said.

The questions of whether Joshua Young played a part in Trey Zwicker's murder is one of the reasons why "Justice For Juveniles" is getting involved, picking up the case on it's website to try to urge the court to not try Young as an adult, where his punishment could include life behind bars.

The New Hampshire-based website features different cases, and director Melissa Higgins tells WAVE 3 why she picked up the case:

"One thing that stands out to me about his case is his father's possible involvement. His father, Josh Gouker, has an extensive criminal record and his mother has said that he admitted to her he committed the murder of his stepson, Trey Zwicker," Higgins explains.

"My concern is that the prosecution is charging Josh with a crime he may not have committed. I am also concerned with the fact he is being charged as an adult and could potentially face life in prison without parole. I have a petition asking the prosecution to investigate Josh Gouker further and also to drop their pursuit of the younger Josh's case in criminal court. As a juvenile he should be tried in juvenile court," she said.

Her petition had more than 800 signatures Monday afternoon from all over the country, as well as some coming from as far as Australia, Canada, and Yemen.

In response to this, another petition drive has been started, called "Justice for Trey Zwicker" which has been started by his aunt.

Her petition drive says, "I believe any child that is capable of commenting murder to another child or even an adult, especially a brutal beating to death knows exactly what they are doing. An Adult size crime deserves an adult sized punishment. People try to argue that a child should not be tried as an adult, but what if it was their child that was murdered by another child? Would they agree with it then? Chances are NO."

The "Justice for Trey Zwicker" had more than 300 supporters Monday afternoon.

"If you've done something, especially murder - brutal on top of that - whether your 15 or 35, that's an adult to me and an adult punishment is deserved," Tara Zwicker told WAVE 3 News.

Trey's aunt Tara has started her own petition, to leave things the way they are with Young tried as an adult.

"If he's proven innocent then it'll all be dropped but if he's proven guilty then he'll get the punishment he deserves but if the charges are dropped down to juvenile and he's proven guilty, then he could walk the street in no time," she explained.

It comes on the heels of another holiday without Trey.

"All the holidays are really hard. We're taking it one day at a time. We've passed most of the "firsts" - we've passed the first father's day, the first birthday, the first Thanksgiving," she said.

And as they prepare for another holiday, "This is how we're going to be spending our Christmas with Trey this year," Tara said, clutching an ornament with his picture inside.

While the petition drive plays out, Young is expected back in court in mid-to-late January.

More online:

Website for "Justice For Juveniles"

Facebook site for Justice For Juveniles / Joshua Young

Website for "Justice for Trey Zwicker"

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