Demand justice for 15 y/o Josh Young
  • Petitioned Commonwealth Attorney R. David Stengel

This petition was delivered to:

Commonwealth Attorney R. David Stengel
Assistant Commonwealth Attorney
Elizabeth Jones Brown

Demand justice for 15 y/o Josh Young

    1. Melissa Higgins
    2. Petition by

      Melissa Higgins

      Merrimack, NH

Full information on Josh's case may be found here. Also, a very good and detailed article describing Josh's life and the weak circumstantial case against him may be read here. There is more information about discrepancies in his case here.

Far too many people are wrongfully charged and convicted in the United States each year. One study reported that as many as 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted every year. Once a wrongful conviction has occurred it can be extremely difficult to overturn. Despite this, the Innocence Project has exonerated 280 people based on solid DNA evidence. Society has an obligation to ensure that law enforcement on all levels apprehend the correct people and that convictions are based on solid evidence and not just circumstancial evidence that ignores other likely suspects.

And this is why 15 year old Josh Young needs your help. After he was indicted for murder, Josh's defender told the media that "the defense had a witness it wanted to present to the grand jury that indicted Young last week, but jurors chose not to hear the testimony 'for whatever reason." It is unfortunate they refused to hear all testimony pertaining to Josh because there is another person involved in this case with the motive, the opportunity, and the criminal background to suggest potential involvement...

Case Background

In May of 2011, 14 year old Trey Zwicker was murdered. He was found by a group of students in a ditch behind Liberty High School in Kentucky. Trey had reportedly been beaten to death, though it is unclear how long he was in the ditch or if he was actually murdered in that area.

15 year old Josh Young has been charged as an adult for the murder even though Josh's grandmother has named her own son (the father of Josh Young and the stepfather of Trey) as Trey's real killer. She told the press that Josh's father "knows the whole truth about what happened that night" and has left "his son hanging" for the crime. She told the local news, "Big Josh told me at first he did it, and that's who they need to be looking at." She referred to her son as a "monster". The media has reported that members of Trey's own family believe that Josh's father was involved in the murder.

Despite suspicion from his mother and Trey's family, as well as an extensive criminal record that includes a kidnapping charge, assault, and a number of protective orders, the stepfather of Trey and biological father of the accused has not faced criminal charges in relation to the murder.

Instead, Josh Young was arrested after Trey's mother filed a protective order against Gouker (click here to read contents of that order) and he fled the area with his son. Before the two left, members of Trey's family contacted social services with concerns that Gouker would leave town with his son, Josh. Sure enough, the two did leave town and Gouker was subsequently arrested for kidnapping a woman and forcing her at gunpoint to drive for an hour and a half before dropping off Gouker, his son Josh, and Gouker's girlfriend. Shortly after Gouker's arrest, 15 year old Josh Young was arrested and charged with first degree murder and evidence tampering. No explanation about the charges was provided to the public.

There are many problems with this case. First, Josh is being tried as an adult for Trey's murder and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Second, Trey's own stepfather has a criminal record, is suspected by multiple family members of being involved in the crime, and fled town after the murder. Why is a 15 year old child facing adult charges when the evidence suggests his father perpetrated the crime? If convicted in adult court, Josh could be sentenced to the maximum penalty of life in prison.

Josh had only been living with his father for a short time when his stepbrother Trey was murdered. Josh's father, Josh Gouker, had recently gotten out of prison. By a nnumber of accounts, Josh and Trey got along. There does not appear to be a motive for him to have committed this crime.

We, the undersigned, are asking for two things:

First, we ask that the prosecution drop their prosecution of Josh Young in adult criminal court. He is a 15 year old child. He is not an adult.

Second, we ask that Trey's stepfather (Josh's biological father) undergo a comprehensive investigation (click here to see past criminal charges on his record).

We also implore the state of Kentucky to avoid wrongfully prosecuting and convicting a minor child in adult court and to do everything in its power to ensure true justice for every person involved, including Trey Zwicker, Trey's family, and Josh Young.

To find out more about Josh's case and other cases involving juveniles charged in the adult criminal justice system please visit www.justice4juveniles.com or more information may be found here.

Please share this petition on Facebook and Twitter. You may also share the Facebook page pertaining to this case: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Joshua-Young/310548045640741

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 2,000 signatures
    2. Josh Young versus Josh Gouker

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Discrepancies in the case against Josh Young

    3. Join our email writing campaign on Facebook

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      We are writing to the Judge in Josh's case asking him to move Josh's case to juvenile court or drop the charges due to the lack of physical evidence and the fact it is a purely circumstantial case. Please join us.

    4. Read about Josh's case and history

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Detailed investigative article describing Josh's life and the weak circumstantial case against him.

    5. Reached 1,500 signatures
    6. Family of teen charged with murder says they should be looking at father

      Melissa Higgins
      Petition Organizer

      Article discussing Gouker's mom saying that he told her he murdered Trey and the reasons why he did it.

    7. Reached 250 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Rick Lutz IRRICANA, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      Well, when the jury refuses to hear all evidence their is definitely something wrong

      with the system , How is this

      even possible for them to refuse

      to hear evidence???????????

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Barbara Kennedy PHILADELPHIA, PA
      • 8 months ago

      as i have been watching this trial its becoming more clearer and clearer that this trail against josh young is purely motivated on revenge.i see NO evidence at all against josh young.the state of kentucky dropped the ball on josh young and let him live with his father..this young boy is being thrown in the trash. child protective services failed this boy. i ask where is the evidence?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • lisa greene LOUISVILLE, KY
      • 9 months ago

      The CPS system is broken. Josh Young is proof of that.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lora Hylton CORYDON, IN
      • 9 months ago

      Juvenile court is the place for these proceedings. Josh Gouker has a long history of violence and is most likely the only person involved in the killing of Trey. Court records need to be opened so that the facts of this case can be seen.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Natalie Neff DES MOINES, WA
      • 9 months ago

      No child abused in this manner should go to adult jail, when the person that made the decision to put him back with his father walks free!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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