LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) – The verdict is in, not guilty on all charges. For 17-year-old Josh Young, a huge relief. For 14-year-old Trey Zwicker’s family, anger and sadness.
Young was accused of beating Zwicker to death behind Liberty High School in 2011. But, the jury had reasonable doubt.
Terry Zwicker, Trey’s father said the verdict comes after the defense had approached the prosecution with a plea deal. That deal was denied.
The tears were flowing before the jury had even entered the courtroom to enter their verdict. Years of tension building up to this moment. After the verdict was read, the reaction was immediate. Joshua Young found not guilty of murder and not guilty of tampering with physical evidence.
As the jury left the courtroom for the final time, Young could barely contain his happiness, hugging a member of his defense team and smiling. While Amanda McFarland, Trey Zwicker’s mother cried in the back of the courtroom. Trey’s father’s family raced for the elevators, overcome with grief. They had harsh words, not for Young, not for Josh Gouker who is serving a life sentence for Trey’s murder, but for Trey’s mother. From the elevator, someone shouted, “I hate Amanda! She’s a f****** b****!”
The prosecution left the courtroom disappointed and heartbroken for Zwicker’s family. “They are not doing well at all,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Elizabeth Jones Brown, “I know this is hard for them. I know they’ve got a hard road ahead of them dealing with this.”
Young’s attorney Pete Schuler was visibly relieved, saying, “We’ve always known Josh was innocent and, you know, it’s good to have an innocent client.”
Schuler was anxious to sort out Young’s release to his foster family. “He’s in the custody of the Cabinet, so he’s a committed, neglected child and it’s my understanding that they have agreed to release him to the Stoneburners, they will have temporary custody.”
Schuler says the Stoneburner family is in the process of hopefully adopting Josh Young, even though he’ll turn 18 at the beginning of January. They’ll have a hearing to that effect in about a month.
Terry Zwicker says the prosecution did a great job, but he still feels the justice system let his son down.