One of the reason I argued for the innocence of Josh Young is a person from Louisville who is one of the 37 people on Kentucky's Death Row in Frankfort. That man is Shawn Windsor. Like Josh Gouker, he is a guy who lost control and killed his his son, who was eight years old back in late 2003. (He also killed his ex-wife that day as well.) He, like Gouker, took to the road, but was on the lam longer than Gouker before some people in rural North Carolina town of Shelby recognized the guy working in car repair shop was not as he said and police arrested him without incident. Obviously, like most fugitives, he was wanting this madness to end. But unlike Gouker, he did not have anyone else to falsely accuse since unlike Gouker, he killed the boy's mother. Now imagine if he did that thing to Amanda that night and Josh would be a free teenager and Gouker would join Windsor eventually on death row. (Little Josh would have been eight going on nine that Christmas of 2003.)
But Gouker did not kill Amanda that night in May of 2011, over seven years after Windsor's crimes of passion over the Christmastide of 2003. He allowed her to live. He allowed her to file that protection order. He ran like Windsor, but unlike Windsor, he was incredibly stupid as it came to a fugitive life. In a Fantasy Fugitive League, I would have gotten a low score with the length he was on the lam with his son and that other woman.
Josh Gouker obviously planned to kill Trey Zwicker to get back at Amanda and Little Josh, which is why he went to great lengths to act like the good guy to Amanda, which got her and Trey into his life again, despite everything Trey's biological dad did to prevent this. Then this man Gouker used this big and happy, blended family to get childrens' services to place Little Josh back in his care. All that was lacking is when to kill Amanda's son and then blame it all on his son. This came all too conveniently two months after he got Little Josh back in his clutches when Trey Zwicker sneaked out of the house that night. The man might not have been making out with Amanda for long when he sensed that Trey sneaked out of the house. So here we come to a major fork in the road.
Had Amanda stayed behind or went out with her man to look for Trey? That has been bothering me and it should bother any of the rest of us. Either he used a great amount of deception or his lady witnessed his rage. By sheer luck or maybe according to his plan, Gouker did not even kill her that night like Windsor did during his crime of passion. This deception was possibly beat into her, but not as hard as he beat it into Trey Zwicker. I wonder if Gouker let her watch him kill her son. If not, he was the coldest deceiver since Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.
Now this is the kicker. If he killed Trey, Gouker would had have lots of blood all over him by the pattern of the wounds that killed the boy. After ditching the boy into that area behind Liberty High School, Gouker either cleaned up in his car and changed his clothes. He then drove back to the house to pick up Amanda or maybe they were together all this time. If so, they next went out on the ciggy and snack run as planned at the Circle K, where Gouker got his stuff to ease his nerves. Next he drove to his cousins, told them of what he did. (Obviously he may have talked of getting back at Amanda and her boy before this date.) With their help, they got rid of possible weapon and the clothes Gouker was wearing when he killed the boy. All this time, he kept Amanda within his control. He did not want to run the risk of her calling the cops and ruining his perfect plan.
More threats and blows followed for the next fourteen hours along with their act of silence as Gouker and Amanda waited for the body to be discovered. After it was discovered, Gouker and Amanda would go down to Liberty High School and pretend that they just heard about the case from neighbors and then discovered Trey was missing and did not go to Seneca High School that day. No need to worry about Little Josh or his step-sister finding out, for all this time, they went about their business until they were back home and eventually learned about the death of their stepbrother.
Which is why I assume the Little Josh and his stepsister were at home alone most of that early morning in their bed fast asleep. In the morning, apart from being a little tired and marked as always by Gouker, Amanda acted as if everything was alright in the world and that being with Gouker was great. Josh went to his high school at Fern Creek and the little girl went to her school. By that afternoon, their world was turned upside down by Gouker's handiwork. (Gouker even got the cops to show him the scene from a short distance.)
Gouker killed Trey Zwicker not only to get back at Amanda but to frame his son for Trey's murder. That he must have planned it since that past March was the creepiest piece of this tale of vile deception. The biggest thing that could have gone wrong was something else popping up to wreck this perfect plan. But all the chips fell in place for a thirty-something's idea of a sick joke on everyone who ever done him worng.
The other victims were the Jefferson County Prosecutor, Childrens' Services and the Louisville Police. Gouker not only is after Amanda and Little Josh, he is also getting back at the three agencies that did him wrong since he was seventeen years old. He wants them to wrongfully prosecute his son and then get bashed by the likes of us for their misconduct. All that was needed to collapse his house of cards was for one of them not buying into his deception. Either the Childrens' Services refused to let Little Josh live with him or raise the issue of Trey being around him, the Louisville PD lead dectective not believing Gouker's sob story or the prosecutor smelling a rat in the police report that would have put Josh in foster care and Gouker facing murder one. Somehow, Gouker won the roll of the dice. Now these following agencies are facing future problems with litigation.
1. Childrens' Services: They actually placed Josh Young and Trey Zwicker (and their relations) in danger for this to work. I wonder if Gouker would still commit his crime if he was forced to suffer with Little Josh in foster care. Looking at it now, Josh was doing a little better in foster care. He should have been put up for adoption by the system after his mom's death. The system should have told Gouker due to his record, he was an unfit father. Somehow, Gouker was a pretty good liar to fool them all.
2. Louisville Police: Gouker deceived them big time with this case. After he spun that tale to the lead detective, Scott Russ, they did not follow it up to make it match the evidence. Instead they did the opposite: they made the evidence fit the tall tale. The lies did indeed match the forensics perfectly. Then again, Gouker was blessed with a loyal cousin and her man backing him up by saying that Josh spent the night at their house down the street and that Little Josh forced them to dispose of the evidence. (Then they blew some of that street cred by allegedly robbing Amanda in the weeks after the arrests.)
3. The Jefferson County Prosecutor: Indeed the very man that helped to send Shawn Windsor to death row, Irv Maze (who is now a judge), was in 2008 succeeded by Mike O'Connell. Josh Gouker must have taken delight at the way his tale tale forced his son through the ringer. It was if even they did not do their research to find additional evidence to prosecute. They took what the police gathered and took it from there. Won't they be in for a shock when all their efforts is blown up in their face come trial time! If they are not willing to dismiss this case in light of accusations of Gouker's deception, then Shawn Windsor will feel so lonely on Death Row without a fellow Louisvillian to keep him company. It only means that they are so much like the grand jury who brought back the indictments without as much listening to anything in the boy's defense. Only a big loss of a full-blown jury trial would bring them around to the fact that they were going after the wrong person. They should have gone after Gouker all along. Once they realize it, Gouker's goose is cooked. If this case does not qualify for death or even prosecution of Gouker altogether, then Kentucky is doing all they can not to add Josh Gouker to their list, making him bozo number 38 residing in Frankfort, waiting for his appeal and his eventual time in the chamber.
Shawn Windsor also had one other thing going against him. Like Gouker, he had the tendency to gauk at his kill, though Gouker was not snapping photos of his kill afterwards.