Josh Gouker back in court, wants murder conviction thrown out

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by Brooke Hasch

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Updated Thursday, May 15 at 4:18 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Convicted killer Josh Gouker went before a judge Thursday asking he throw out his guilty plea.

Gouker was accused of killing his stepson, 14-year-old Trey Zwicker, in 2011. Gouker's own son, Josh Young, was also accused in the murder. He was later tried and acquitted.

Last May, Gouker pleaded guilty to murder but now says he didn't have the proper legal representation. He also admitted to lying all along, as a cover-up.

"You admitted consistently at Josh's trial that you alone committed murder," Judge Barry Willett stated.

"Yea," Gouker said.

"And you were under oath at that time," Willett said.

"I committed perjury several times," Gouker said.

Gouker sat before Judge Willett Thursday, claiming he'd been coerced by his attorneys to plead guilty in the beating death of his stepson, Trey Zwicker.

"My attorney, Mark Hall, knew what I was doing, knew that I was going to come in here and lie and take the blame for my son, and he coached me along the way," Gouker said.

An earlier recording of Gouker's confession filled the courtroom. Zwicker's family listened quietly from the back.

"I just snapped. I hit him, he went down. 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, on May 10, 2013.

In that same video, Gouker said he was satisfied with his counsel and agreed he was going against their judgment.

“The plea that Mr. Gouker is making is not necessarily with the advice of the counsel. He made that decision on his own,” his attorney said.

"I had to do whatever I had to do to save my son. He was 14, 15. He was a kid. If they would've dismissed it, I wouldn't be here today. I'd be sucking it up doing a life sentence, cause they'd just charge him again. But they got greedy. It didn't end like they wanted. Now, they found him not guilty and now they can't charge him for the same thing again," Gouker said.

It’s a defense the prosecution said he carefully planned.

"The Commonwealth has always said he was involved. We still do. I think his goal was to have happen exactly what happened, to have his son acquitted and try to get this off his plate," Elizabeth Jones Brown, the assistant Commonwealth's Attorney said.

"There's no other way I could've saved Josh," Gouker said.

The judge will have a written ruling on Gouker's request. It's unknown when that is expected.

Terry Zwicker, Trey's father, didn't wish to speak on camera.

 

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