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Dysfunctional Murder

Trey Zwicker's murder is about more than just a rivalry between stepbrothers, it exposed a deeply dysfunctional family.

"Everybody has a dysfunctional family," Vicki Lawrence's words should be of some comfort. Most people have grown up with a family that fights until there is a funeral or a holiday where a lot of food will be cooked, and one member doesn't want to make the dishes. Within the Zwicker/Young/Gouker family, the bonds of dysfunction wound tightly around each person involved, and choked off any chance of normalcy. That abnormality also led to a twisted case of murder that is impossible to solve to this day, even though a Kentucky father AND son have confessed to it.

Angelina Young had a child with Josh Gouker (after this known only as Gouker). That son would share a first name with his father, but would be given his mother's last name. There is no official reasoning why Josh Young was not given his father's last name, the leading theory is that it was to protect him from Gouker's criminal legacy. Gouker has been in and out of jail like most people stop at Starbucks for a coffee. Sadly, Angelina would die on Easter Sunday 2010. That event would lead Young to be put into Foster Care, as Gouker was once again incarcerated.

Once released, Gouker fought for custody of his 15-year-old son. A Judge unwisely ruled in his favor, and soon father and son were together. They lived with Gouker's cousin, Cassie Gouker (referred to on a first name basis to avoid confusion). Some say that Cassie and Gouker were on-off lovers, and since this is Kentucky, that could be the case. Gouker also had an on again off again relationship with Amanda Zwicker (also referred by her first name from now on). The two would reunite and have wild sex, then break up when things got too real.

During one of the off periods, Amanda would marry (and presumably leave), Terrance Zwicker Jr. who she would have a son with, Terrance "Trey" Zwicker III. While Trey was growing up, Jr. disappeared from the scene, and Amanda would reunite with Gouker. They were like Ross and Rachel, but with more drugs and a cousin/lover spoiler thrown in for good measure.

After their reunion sometime in December of 2010, Amanda would discover that she was pregnant with Gouker's baby. A happy occasion turned to fear when Gouker accidentally called his lady love, while having sex with his cousin and calling Amanda "expendable." Hearing that, Amanda decided that she wanted to cut ties with her boyfriend, which included aborting the baby. That conversation must have been very unpleasant when Amanda told Gouker. It did not go well.

Here's where things go from bad to dysfunctional. Young and Trey were close in age, but their personalities differed significantly. Like most brothers they seemed to have a bit of a rivalry with one another, while also being close and looking out for one another. That's why it was shocking when Trey's dead body was discovered by a teacher on May 11, 2011, near Liberty High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Trey's family was immediately notified. Funeral arrangements were made, and tears flowed freely for the Zwicker family.

Two people that were noticeably not upset about the death of someone that they had allegedly been close to were Gouker and Young. The father and son would leave Kentucky right after the funeral, a direct violation of Gouker's probation. As the police investigated, nothing made sense as to why this kid was killed. Could it have been a random act of violence? It was what some were thinking before Gouker missed a probation appointment, and they realized that he had fled the state with his son.

A manhunt would soon commence, but once again Gouker would make it easy to find him by committing a crime. He and Young held a woman at gunpoint and forced her to drive them to their destination in Alabama. When will straight guys realize a woman scorned will always let the cops know where her felon has gone? Gouker and Young were arrested, with Young being extradited back to Kentucky to face charges. Gouker would face kidnapping charges in Alabama and then was supposed to be sent back to Kentucky. After the revelation that Gouker and the woman had a sexual history, the case fell apart, and he was released to terrorize the public once again.

Prosecutors in Kentucky were building a case against Young being the one who killed Trey. Things were falling into place, and they thought there was a strong enough case to have him tried as an adult. Gouker would be arrested in Indiana but once again released to the wild, instead of being extradited back to Kentucky to face charges with his son. Eventually, the FBI would be brought in to help find him. There was a lot of egg on faces when it turned out that he had been hiding in plain sight for months, he had moved back to the Louisville area. He was arrested and charged with crimes associated with the murder, just not the killing itself.

Fatherly instincts or maybe good old fashioned guilt took over Gouker, and he soon confessed to killing Trey. He reasoned that since Amanda had killed his unborn baby, it was only right that he be allowed to snuff out the life of her son. Young was acquitted of the murder and Gouker would soon be sentenced for the crime. Everything seemed to be wrapped up in a nice little bow.

The bow wasn't wound up tight enough though because Young confessed to the murder of Trey! In a letter that he penned to some unknown persons, he said that he and Trey had gone behind the school and smoked some pot. At some point, Trey started mouthing off to him, and he beat him with a baseball bat that he brought with him, in case they decided to smash in car windows. As boys do. Young claims, because he was high, he was not in his right state of mind, and that if Trey had just been the good little subservient brother, he wouldn't have been forced to kill him. Those are not his words but close enough.

Why confess now? Some theorize that he believes he can't be tried again for the murder of his stepbrother because of double jeopardy. This is not the case, a criminal defense attorney reasoned, "Depending on what charges were brought against him, he could face other charges. It would be up to the prosecutors to level new charges at him." Even with the confession bombshell, there is one more twist to this whole situation. Some family members, including Cassie, are saying that they remember Gouker saying that Young had confessed to the murder. But the words never came from Young himself. It was always his father saying the words, and some are worried that Gouker has found a way to try and get his son to confess in order to alleviate his sentence (life in prison for the murder and an additional 30 some-odd years for other various crimes), so he can be out among the free again. Young, for his part, is back in jail serving a sentence of 20 years for an unrelated gun charge. No DNA test needed to know these two are related. The orange suit doesn't fall far from the prison.

A twisted family saga had a tragic conclusion. Amanda McFarland (her new last name) and Terrance Zwicker Jr. still don't know who killed their son or why. Was it because she aborted a baby or was it because Trey was too mouthy? In either case, they lost their son to the hands of two men who once had a bright future, but squandered it for lives of crime. A truly dysfunctional family, one that probably should not get together for Thanksgiving dinner.

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