Return to Transcripts main page
DiMaggio Still on the Run; The Josh Young Trial
Aired August 9, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VINNIE POLITAN, HLN HOST: Good evening. I`m Vinnie Politan filling in for Jane Velez-Mitchell.
Tonight, we are following two huge breaking stories right now.
First, breaking news in the manhunt for a murder suspect and missing 16-year-old girl. They were spotted in a rural wilderness area in Idaho. As we speak, crews are searching who are searching on the ground and in the area where Jim DiMaggio and Hanna Anderson. They were seen by a group of horseback riders Wednesday. DiMaggio`s car was found abandoned nearby, covered in brush. The license plate has removed. Authorities are making sure the care is not rigged with explosives before they search that vehicle for clues.
DiMaggio is suspected of murdering Hannah`s mom and little brother last weekend and then burning down his mouse. He then fled with Hannah, whom family friends say, he was obsessed with.
We have got much more on the manhunt coming up.
Also, breaking news tonight as we speak. A jury is deliberating the fate of this teenager, Joshua Young, accused of helping his father beat to death a 14-year-old boy. The victim, Joshua`s own stepbrother.
I`m Vinnie Politan in for my friend, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and we are on a verdict watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was an utterly senseless and heartbreaking murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me that him and Trey went down to the ditch to smoke some weed. He asked him what time it was, and then he hit him with the bat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy did this by himself. He wanted to do it all by himself.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I beat the hell out of him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t convict this boy because you don`t know and he didn`t cry at the funeral.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is your job to look at all the facts and to hold Josh Young accountable for the murder of Trey Zwicker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: Today, the defense and the prosecution duke it out. The defense says this baby-faced boy is innocent. The prosecution says he`s guilty of murder. The boy`s demonic dad already admitted he brutally beat 14-year-old Trey Zwicker to death. He is serving life sentence in prison. He claims he acted alone, but that confession only came after daddy dearest tried to pin the murder on his own son. Now, who will the jury believe?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On May 10, 2011, Josh Young murdered Trey Zwicker in one of the most brutal crimes imaginable. He beat him death as Trey suffocated on the mud that his face was pounded into, with a baseball bat to the back of his head. Did the defendant do this alone? Did he do it with Josh Gouker (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This guy wanted to do it by himself. He wanted to do it all by himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: Do you think Joshua Young is guilty or innocent? Give me a call, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. Well, the jury has been deliberating now for just over seven hours. They have asked one question so far, and that was to review the testimony of big Josh and the interviews, including this interrogation video of little Josh.
Let me go straight out to Natisha Lance, who is inside that courthouse in Kentucky on the sixth floor.
Natisha, what can you tell us? What`s happening right no
NATISHA LANCE, HLN PRODUCER (via phone): Well, Vinnie, the courtroom is pretty clear right now except for a few deputies. But outside is the courtroom is the Stoneburner. And that`s the family. That was the poster parents for Joshua Young for a short period of time. They are waiting here until a verdict comes down tonight or until the jury is relieved for tonight. And then also the Zwicker family is in a victim`s holding area, which is on another floor.
But everyone is hunkered down for tonight. We were just told that the jury is going to order dinner, so they are going to be staying here, and deliberating past their dinner possibly. But until then, it`s just a waiting game.
POLITAN: Natisha, any word on how late they can stay tonight?
LANCE: We have heard a bunch of times thrown out. The latest being midnight. It`s really up to the jury. And Vinnie, we know that the jury came back so the courtroom to review that testimony of Joshua Gouker. They also looked at the interview of Joshua Young. And during that time you did start to see the jurors looking a little bit more tired. There were some yawns that I saw. There was some leaning I saw. But for the most part they were attentive, especially in the beginning, and listening to Josh Gouker`s testimony. A lot of note taking going on, and the prosecution pointed out during the closing argument with Joshua Young that the discrepancies in his two statements. They were taking lots of notes during that time, as well.
POLITAN: I wanted to go to Terry Zwicker, Trey Zwicker`s father.
Terry, this has to be excruciating for you. We are an hour seven now. I`m really interested in how you`re feeling right now, and are you prepared because you never know what a jury is going to say?
TERRY ZWICKER, TRY ZWICKER`S FATHER (via phone): Well, I mean, I guess that`s the one good thing you can come about when you`ve got two years after dealing with something like this. You build up several different types of anticipation, and you know, to set myself up, I`m hoping that I will be fine either way, whether I get a guilty or a not guilty.
I definitely hope that while we get our guilty, and we cannot worry about Trey, seeing justice slip through his fingers, because he`s the one it`s all about. He deserves justice. And Josh Young needs to serve his time.
POLITAN: Terry, if you had an opportunity, and obviously you can`t because of the way our system works, but as this jury is deliberating right now, what would you say to them?
ZWICKER: Search deep. Don`t make a mistake, because if he gets out, he`s walked away from it once. What`s going to stop him from doing it again?
POLITAN: Terry, if in fact this jury comes back and utters those two words, because I`ve heard it before in courtrooms. Again, you never know what a jury is going to do. If they say not guilty and he walks out of that courtroom tonight free, free to live the rest of his life, what does that mean to you? What will you do? How will that impact you and your family?
ZWICKER: Well, I`ll be devastated. I mean, I myself will be upset. Justice did not prevail for us and did not prevail for Trey. And, you know, to be honest with you, either way it goes, this is not the final judgment. There`s another judgment that that boy will have to live with, and it`s one beyond this jury, it is beyond my hands, it is beyond everybody in this life`s hands, and he will have to face it one day.
POLITAN: Today, the defense told the jury they cannot believe a single word that comes out of the mouth of Joshua`s dad, Josh Gouker. They pleaded with the jury to disregard what big Josh said on the stand and what he told cops and friends.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything Joshua Gouker says can be taken one of two ways -- that`s why we don`t listen to him. That guy is not a mastermind, he is a puppet master. He dupes everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t deny nothing I said. It`s not easy to be a mastermind when you`re dealing with dumb people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he didn`t have to do much persuasion, because his son was a demon child.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, demon seed, whether he said those things to those guys or not, we don`t care because we don`t believe anything he says any way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: Out to the lion`s den.
They say nothing he says can be trusted but the dad now says he acted alone. So was it a good idea for the defense to say don`t believe anything -- Ashleigh?
ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, it was because they have got several inmates that are saying big Josh said that he did this and said that he coerced his son. So, if you don`t believe him, you don`t believe him either by throws out a lot of the state`s evidence.
POLITAN: Brian Silber, why are they saying don`t believe the guy who said he did it alone?
BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Honestly, I got to disagree with that strategy. Of course, there is a question about his credibility. The guy comes off as this terrible convict. But the bottom line is, they need to emphasize that there is still a reasonable doubt.
The fact is he is coming forward and taking responsibility and the fact is that the government`s other witnesses have credibility issues. So, instead of highlights don`t believe him, they should be highlights there is a question here, and that`s why you can`t convict. So I think I just would have handled it a little differently.
POLITAN: Stacey Honowitz, they ask to see that testimony again. Why do you think the jury wanted to see big Josh`s?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, listen, Vinnie. We have all tried cases and we know they are paying attention the first time around. But certainly when they have gone back and deliberated, somebody might have had a question about what was said in court. So, rather than sit and argue about it, the logical conclusion is to come back out and let`s here the testimony again. It`s very common, especially in a case like this where you have somebody that saying I did it. I mean, to have somebody come out and take the blame for somebody else who is in trial, they are going to want to hear the testimony again.
POLITAN: We are on a verdict watch. This jury could come back at any moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think after that very first meeting they believed me. You know, they believed me for years, and then all of them told -- they said I was a monster and all this (bleep).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love my dad more than anybody else in this world and I would rather be with him more than anybody else in this world. Being with my dad is better than being anywhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: Just a little while ago as the jury was watching the interrogation tapes, and big Josh`s testimony, we saw little Josh look down, shake his head inside that courtroom.
Welcome back, folks. We are in a verdict watch. It`s been over seven hours as we wait for this jury to make a decision whether or not this young man is a murderer or not. His father already serving life in prison for the murder, but did he help his father was he part of it? Was he the leader? Is he the first one to do it? A lot of questions for this jury.
Susan Stoneburner joins us. She`s the foster mom of Joshua Young.
Susan, thanks so much for joining us. Over seven hours now. Your thoughts as this jury deliberates and debates the future of Joshua?
SUSAN STONEBURNER, JOSHUA YOUNG`S FORMER FOSTER MOTHER (via phone): It`s absolutely heart-wrenching, but I`m excited they`re taking it seriously. There`s a lot to figure out. There`s so much to look over. It`s hard for anybody to keep it straight and these guys have to figure it out. I can`t imagine how hard their job is right now.
POLITAN: Susan, if this jury comes back and utters the word guilty, guilty of murder, tell me what that`s going to mean for you, your family, and for Joshua. STONEBURNER: Well, honestly, I think it`s going to mean a lot for all of us because if we can in fact be convicted of murder through testimony of people who, at best, are not credible, it`s a little scary that there is no hard evidence, and there won`t ever be any, and there hasn`t ever been any. They were barely able to put on a defense and that got shut down. And you know, it`s a little scary to think that we could be put away for life because of what someone who has no credibility has said about us.
POLITAN: Susan, when is the last time you spoke with Joshua?
STONEBURNER: The night before last. I get to go in and visit with him twice a week.
POLITAN: How would you describe his thoughts, his -- where he is emotionally, mentally, knowing that these 12 folks are going to decide the rest of his life for him?
STONEBURNER: Yes, he`s definitely on pins and needles. He`s a teenager facing life. There`s no words.
POLITAN: How about in the alternative, if it`s not guilty, Susan, and he walks out of that courtroom, where is he going to go and where are you going to go?
STONEBURNER: Well, as soon as the people in charge make that decision, we`re going to be ready to receive him as soon as they will let us. We will have a lot of mending to do. I`m sure -- he wanted to talk to the Zwicker family. He wanted to make sure they didn`t he did this, when he heard that`s what he is being accused of. And I know he`ll want to have a chance to talk to them. And hopefully, they can all heal from this.
These were families that grew up together. I wasn`t part of that, but I know how that is in my own life, and to have this to have to repair would be really hard. So we are going to move forward and hopefully give him the life that he wants to live on his terms.
POLITAN: Terry Zwicker is also with us, Trey Zwicker`s father, joining us by phone.
And Terry, I wanted to ask you from what we just heard from Susan. I know it`s going to be difficult for you because you told us that if in fact a not guilty verdict comes out of all this, but could you see yourself and your family at any point sitting down with Joshua Young?
ZWICKER: No. You know, if he gets his not guilty and he walks away from it, he can move on. You know, I understand. And for me, the Young family has always been a family friend and they`re really great people. I don`t per see know the Stoneburners or anything like that. And you know, I respect her as an individual to take children into her home and give them a life they didn`t have before.
However, the downfall is, I know Joshua Young. I know Joshua Young and be the fact that he is just like his daddy. Now, as long as he`s away from his daddy, he has a good chance of not acting like his daddy. But sooner or later it will come out. I have had run-ins with Young before. I have got lashings from -- verbally lashed from Joshua Young myself, and he talks like a grown man, and he`s into the gangs, and he`s into everything else because it`s all there.
I have known these people. So, you know, like I said, I feel so bad for the Young family that they have to endure this. I feel bad for the Stoneburners that they have to endure this. But my opinion is not based on an opinion from somebody that`s non-credible. It`s based on opinion from my own two eyes. And as far as my credibility goes, I`m just an average human being but I can tell you this. I`ve never been in trouble with the law. I am living. I pay my taxes. And I run a business. And, you know, I function as a normal human being in society and always have.
So I`m just telling you, I`ve seen the boy in action. I know what he`s capable of, and I know what he`s done. So, as far as that goes, he -- the prosecution has proven to me he was guilty. And to me, regardless of not guilty or guilty, I know he was there and he knows he was, too.
POLITAN: So Terry, if I`m hearing you correctly, you wouldn`t want Joshua to reach out to your family if, in fact, he walks out of that courtroom and is found not guilty by this jury?
ZWICKER: No. He can move on with his life and forget all about it. Just let it go. I`m going to go on with mine, he can go on with his. And that`s the end of the road. You know, at this point, that`s just the way I feel about it. Like I said, I know he was there.
POLITAN: Susan Stoneburner, Joshua`s foster mom, and I know you can hear what Terry is saying, Trey`s dad, and I heard you say, listen, you were going to have them reaching out if in fact it`s a not guilty. Based upon what you just heard, are you still going to try to reach out?
STONEBURNER: This is definitely between those guys. This is something that Joshua wanted the first day that I was able to talk to him after -- two years ago. And he wanted to -- his first question was, they don`t think I did this, do they? That was his concern. Before -- the fact that I`ve been locked up because someone said something about it, he wanted to make sure Terry and Amanda didn`t think he did this.
And you know, and again, that is between them and I`m not going to step in. Terry has been unbelievably just quiet about his feelings in that he didn`t attack. He could have easily -- any parent could easily attack in his situation, and instead he said I`m waiting to hear the facts. So I respect him to the nth degree, I really do. And I hope that the healing -- with the healing for his family comes some kind of change that we can put Trey`s name on it that will not let anything like this happen to another family because you know, there has to be something good and positive, because everybody has already lost. We have all lost. There will be no winners when this decision is in. There will be none. But if there is a change that comes that we can put Trey`s name on, you know, I think that he would be happy about that. He was a good kid when I met him. Everybody has said that about him, there`s no question in that. And for him to help another child, I think that would make him smile.
POLITAN: We are in a jury watch. The jury has the case. They have been deliberating over seven hours. We will have the live report from inside the courthouse next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you love your son, Josh Young?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, this is going to make me sound like a piece of (bleep)? You have got to think, though, I don`t know him. As much as I can love, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you give your life for your son, Josh Young?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His son was a demon child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just another one of Gouker`s manipulations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you describe Joshua Young in the car going to the funeral?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very sad, very distraught, teary eyed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just felt right. I mean, I know it sounds monstrous and all that (bleep), but it`s not. If we were in the old testament, it would be the same thing. I don`t deny nothing I said. I`m a (bleep) liar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: The jury deliberating close to 7 1/2 hours now. The Joshua Young murder trial, young man, accused of murdering his stepbrother, 7 1/2 hours. They have ordered dinner. So, we know that they are eating.
Let me bring in our expert to get their take on what this means, 7 1/2 hours.
Let`s go to Ashleigh Merchant, criminal defense attorney.
Ashleigh, 7 1/2 hours, is that better for the defense or prosecution right now?
MERCHANT: Well, you know, it could go either way. But in my opinion, I think they want to find Josh Young guilty, but I don`t think they`re going to. And I think they are going through all the evidence to see if there`s a chance they could get him on any of the charges, on either of the charges. And they are really reaching for that, but I just don`t think the evidence is there, and I don`t think they are going to get there. But I think that`s what they are doing in that room.
POLITAN: Brian, what do you think? As the clock continues to tick here, should the defense be getting more confident or less confident?
SILBER: Well, as a trial lawyer, I really believe there`s only one thing you can garner from a jury that spends a lot of time on the case, they`re doing their job. They are taking a serious matter very seriously. They are talking about it. They are reviewing the evidence. And that`s all you can get from that, you know. There has been cases where we get these not guilty verdicts after a long period of time. And then, there are cases where is you get the convictions. So, there is nothing really you can say one way or the other, other than they are doing what they are supposed to do.
POLITAN: You know, Stacey Honowitz, which is I look at this, you know, there was a villain, a huge villain who came inside that courtroom. His name was big Josh Gouker. And I was thinking, if this jury came back in an hour or two hours, it is like they got in there. they said bog Josh is the bad guy. He did it. Not guilty. From my perspective, the longer they are out, I think it`s worse news for Young Joshua.
HONOWITZ: Vinnie, you have tried cases. We have sat here so many times over the years. I don`t think you can judge anything by the time that they are out. We sat on cases and Jodi Arias, she admitted that she did it and look how long they were out.
So, I agree with Brian, believe it or not, although, it pains me. But I agree with him. They are doing their job. That`s what they are doing. They are going through the evidence. They ask for read back. I think for any of us to sit here and kind of judge what`s going on because of the length of time, you know, you know what the jury is unpredictable. You just never know.
POLITAN: Yes. But if they were back less than two hours, it was going to be not guilty. There was no way in less than two hours they would have say guilty. That`s why I would be a little more nervous if I was the defense than the prosecution.
The lion`s den. This is my first time in the lion`s den, by the way. It`s not as scary as it sounds. You guys are really smart.
SILBER: It`s not that painful.
MERCHANT: I agree with you. I think a short verdict would have probably been preferable for the defense, but I think the jury is doing their job. And I think that they want -- they think that these -- these are two children, and so, they think this case deserves this amount of time and this amount of consideration.
POLITAN: All right, folks. The lion`s den, not that bad of a place.
All right, of course, if there is a verdict, we have our people in the courtroom and we will bring it to you right away.
But up next, there could be a huge break in the search for a 16-year- old girl. Police say was kidnapped by a suspected murder. I will speak with Hannah Anderson`s grandfather on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, everybody, I want you to meet Trixie. She`s the largest shark in the world. I`m going to introduce you to her and get you within inches at lunchtime. Be sure to tune in "Weekend Express" 7:00 a.m.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLITAN: Breaking news in the Joshua Young murder trial. Let`s go straight to "AFTER DARK" producer Natisha Lance. Natisha -- what`s happening in the courthouse, what can you tell us? We lost her? Ok.
I think we`ve got a verdict. I think we`ve got a verdict inside that courthouse, folks. A verdict has been reached in the Joshua Young murder trial, just over seven and a half hours of deliberations.
Two things this jury has to decide: murder and tampering with evidence. Murder is the big one. That`s got the big, big penalty.
Are those live pictures? All right, we`re waiting to get the live pictures up inside the courtroom. But again, if you`re just joining us, a verdict has been reached. The jury deliberated for exactly eight hours -- eight hours. And they`ve come to a decision here on this Friday night.
This young man -- 17 years old now -- was 15 years old at the time of the murder. The question is, did he or did he not take part in the brutal, brutal beating and murder of Trey Zwicker?
Let`s bring in "The Lion`s Den". We got them? There they are. All right -- we`ve got a verdict, folks.
ASHLEIGH MERCHANT, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not surprised at all, Vinnie.
POLITAN: Eight hours.
STACEY HONOWITZ: Do not ask me what I think it is. Do not ask me that.
POLITAN: And I wouldn`t do that. I wouldn`t do that. But what I want you --
BRIAN SILBER: What are they going to do with all the dinner they ordered?
POLITAN: You all have been in this position many, many times. Let me begin with the defense and the defendant. What is this moment like for you as an attorney representing someone, the rest of their life was in your hands during the trial and now the jury is ready to speak?
MERCHANT: It is honestly the highest and the lowest you feel all at one time. You`re sitting there and you`re thinking and you`re wondering what is going to happen? Am I going to have to catch my client because he`s falling down? Or am I going to hug him? Are they going to be tears of joy?
You know, usually I`m thinking I need a drink one way or the other because my nerves are just going crazy.
POLITAN: Let me go to Natisha Lance, she`s inside the courthouse. Natisha, what can you say, what have you seen, what are you hearing?
NATISHA LANCE, HLN PRODUCER: So far, nobody has come back into the courtroom yet. It`s just two deputies. Our crew is getting ready. But we were told that the jurors had ordered dinner, so they`re going to let them eat dinner first before they come back into the courtroom to give their verdict.
POLITAN: Wait, they`re going to finish their dinner?
LANCE: Yes, they`re going to finish dinner first and then come back and give the verdict.
POLITAN: All right. Did they order fast food?
LANCE: It`s pizza.
POLITAN: Ok. All right. Wow. They`ve reached a verdict but they`re sitting -- and I know they`ve worked hard and they`re probably very, very hungry -- I understand that. So are they allowing people into the courtroom yet? Are they going to wait until the pizza is done, Natisha?
LANCE: They`re going to wait until the pizza is done. So far the people who are on the floor, on the sixth floor outside the courtroom, nobody else knows about it. So the deputies came over to us and discreetly told us. We came into the courtroom, verified with the judge, and now things are starting to get into motion after the jurors finish eating.
POLITAN: Wow. If you`re just joining us folks, a verdict has been reached in the Joshua Young murder trial. The jury has sent out the notice. They ordered dinner right around the same time. Their dinner arrived; they`re going to finish that. And then the verdict will be delivered inside the courtroom. So we expect this to happen, Natisha, I guess I`m asking to estimate how long it takes for a hungry jury to eat pizza. When do we expect everyone to be inside the courtroom?
LANCE: I would say 20 minutes or so -- 20 minutes or more, perhaps. Also keep in mind that they have to inform all the families and everybody to get all of them here. So I would expect at least 20 minutes.
POLITAN: All right.
Let me go back inside "The Lion`s Den". I`ve never experienced this before. Anyone have any experience close to this where the verdict has been reached? I understand they`ve got to get everyone there and I understand this jury has worked hard and it`s very late at night. If they haven`t eaten, they need to eat. I ate right before this show, so I was ready.
Brian, have you ever experienced anything like this?
SILBER: You know, this line of work shows me something bizarre every single time I work in it, ok. And until I became a criminal defense lawyer, you know, you never knew of all these bizarre, weird things that go on out there. This is just another one for the records. But I`ve got to say this. I would say it`s a little peculiar to decide, ok, we`re going to convict this guy of murder. Now let`s go get a slice of pizza, you know.
I think if there`s anything that you could remotely, you know, without any other information read into it, is that they`re possibly going to acquit him. But again I say that with a grain of salt, because we really don`t know.
POLITAN: A grain of salt or some pepperoni, Stacey Honowitz?
HONOWITZ: Listen, Brian is right, you do see very unusual things. I had a jury they sent out for lunch before the bags went back, the defendant made us take all the sandwiches out because we thought they were guilty slips inside telling the juror to vote guilty.
So I`ve seen it all. But the fact of the matter is listen, in high profile cases where the press is involved. We always take 20 minutes or the judge says I`m not going to read the verdict for a half hour, 45 minutes. So in this case dinner`s there, they might as well eat. I don`t think it`s bearing upon whether or not if he`s guilty, I won`t be able to digest my food.
So I think we just look at it and we say we`re going to know in a half hour, 45 minutes what happened in that jury room.
POLITAN: So eight hours of deliberations, the jury has reached a verdict. Natisha Lance -- we still have her correct --
LANCE: Yes, I`m here.
POLITAN: Natisha Lance is inside the courthouse. You said things are starting to buzz there on the sixth floor?
LANCE: Yes, the Stoneburners and those were the former foster parents for Joshua Young, just went into the courtroom. They`re also accompanied by Joshua Young`s girlfriend and the mother-in-law, their mother who Joshua Young had a very close relationship with. So those are the only people who have gone into the courtroom so far. A few other members of the media but I haven`t seen the Zwicker family as of yet.
POLITAN: All right. Natisha, let me ask you about Joshua Young`s girlfriend. That`s an interesting dynamic, because they`re very young, you know, 17 years old. I don`t know how old she is. What have you observed about Joshua Young`s girlfriend?
LANCE: She has been here since I have been here. And I`ve heard that she`s been inside the courtroom for a large part of the testimony. I hear that they also still have a very close knit bond. They communicate often. She talks to him while he`s been incarcerated, during this waiting period before the trial had started. Every time he has a free moment and can get somebody on the phone, I was told by the Stoneburners that he calls his girlfriend. So she`s been a support system for him and also supporting the Stoneburners during this entire process.
She too also hopeful that it will be a not guilty verdict and that he will be coming home, going to the same high school as her. The Stoneburners did tell us that they hope Joshua that will play basketball. She was a cheerleader. So that`s the dynamic that`s been between the two of them. And since he lived with the Stoneburners, that`s as long as he has had this relationship with his girlfriend.
POLITAN: Natisha Lance is inside the courthouse, just outside the courtroom on the sixth floor. A verdict has been reached in the Joshua Young murder trial.
We`re waiting for the jury to finish their dinner and we`re waiting for the judge, the defendant and lawyers to get inside that courtroom. The verdict is just moments away.
POLITAN: Fasten your seat belts, folks. A verdict has been reached in the Joshua Young murder trial. There, you see a live look inside the courtroom. As soon as the camera`s get pulled back and everyone is in place, we will hear the verdict. Is it guilty or not guilty?
Joshua Young, 17 years old, accused of murdering his 14-year-old stepbrother, his father already serving a life sentence for that murder. Natisha Lance is inside the courthouse. Natisha -- what`s happening up on the sixth floor?
LANCE: Vinnie, we`re starting to see elevator doors open. Members of the Zwicker family have started to go into the courtroom. Trey Zwicker`s grandmother and grandfather now in the courtroom. Also the social worker who has been working with Joshua Young for the defense, she has been inside the courtroom, right now she`s outside the courtroom.
But we`re starting to see a slow movement of people filing into the courtroom, getting ready to hear the verdict.
POLITAN: And think about what`s about to happen, folks. There`s no moment more dramatic anywhere. This 17-year-old boy you`re looking at right now, this jury has made a decision on what the rest of his life is going to be like. It could be behind bars for the rest of his life. Or they could say not guilty and he could go home tonight and walk out of there free to live the rest of his life. And then you think about Trey Zwicker`s family -- 14-year-old boy brutally beaten, admittedly by this young man`s father. The question is, was he there with him? They believe absolutely, after hearing all the evidence, that Joshua Young is guilty of the murder. So if he walks out of there free to live the rest of his life, they believe their son`s murderer is walking free tonight.
Let`s go back inside "The Lion`s Den". This moment, for a prosecutor, Stacey Honowitz, you know, the victim`s family not a party to the case. But you are there as their voice. How much of a -- do you feel you have that on your shoulders at this moment?
HONOWITZ: It`s a huge weight, Vinnie, to carry around on your shoulders as a prosecutor as it is for the defense, because they hold someone`s life in their hands. But certainly we are there as a mouth for the victims. We get to speak and present on their behalf. So while everyone, when that buzzer or that bell goes off, you get that panicked, you know, feeling. Your heart starts beating so quickly. And you are looking out at the victim`s family sitting there, relying on you and hoping that you presented the evidence the best way you possibly can.
I think we both feel the same way, both the prosecutors and the defense feel the same way when they know a verdict has been reached, certainly for different reasons.
POLITAN: As you`re speaking, Stacey, there we see Joshua Young`s attorney entering the courtroom. A verdict has been reached.
Jean Casarez is with us. Jean, there`s no moment like, this and I can`t imagine what it`s like there. We see the Stoneburners, the foster parents of Joshua Young. For everyone involved, victims and defendant and in this case, both parties so young, Jean.
JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: I know. I mean this is just a pivotal moment, and I don`t want to say that this case outweighs other cases as far as just the ramifications. But this is a 17-year-old minor. And so there is a ramification here. His entire life will either be in prison or not in prison. And that in the next few moments is what we all are going to find out.
You know, they asked for dinner, Vinnie, quite a while ago. I know because I`ve been watching your whole show from my office. They asked for the dinner quite a few hours ago. So maybe the dinner was there. The verdict was reached, they ate the dinner because it was there, so what are they going to do with it, right?
So maybe we can`t read too much into that, as to whether they found him guilty or not guilty. But one thing I want to tell you I noticed today when they were replaying his father`s testimony, and it was so hard for him to look at that screen and watch his father testify as the jury listened to that read back, watched the read back. When his father was asked, "Was your son with you when you killed him?" I saw Joshua Young just sort of go -- it was just sort of inadvertent. He was just doing it to himself, no, I wasn`t there. You have to wonder if that was the truth.
POLITAN: You`re looking at live pictures inside the courtroom, people starting to gather late on this Friday night in Kentucky. Joshua Young, 17 years old -- 15 years old at the time of the murder of his 14-year-old stepbrother and now the jury is ready to speak. They have announced that they`ve reached their verdict.
Dinner had already been delivered. They`re finishing up that dinner right now. And as soon as they are done and all the parties have gathered, the attorneys, Joshua Young, the judge, they will assemble in the courtroom and the judge will read this verdict.
Ashleigh Merchant, criminal defense attorney, 17-year-old defendant. How much of a factor do you think that is for a jury that`s deliberating?
MERCHANT: It is a huge factor. There is nothing like deciding the fate of a child. Not only do they have to decide if he`s guilty but they have to decide if he can actually form the criminal intent to do this. It`s very hard for someone to look at a child and think that they are that evil, and that they need to really be put away for the rest of their lives. So I think that that went into the facts that this verdict took so long, whatever the verdict is, they thought so much about it because there really wasn`t much evidence to review in this case.
So I think that the decision they`ve made, they took a long time reaching that because of his age. I think that normally they would double- check everything, but I think they triple checked it in this case because he is so young.
POLITAN: Natisha Lance, producer, is inside the courthouse, just outside the courtroom on the sixth floor. Natisha, I`ve seen some attorneys show up. Who is there, who`s not there yet?
LANCE: I have not seen the prosecution yet. And actually, one of the attorneys and the social workers went back into the holding area for Joshua Young.
Other than that, the Stoneburners are in the courtroom as you mentioned. And so far, no sign of the prosecution team inside the courtroom. So we`re still waiting on them as well as other members from the Zwicker family and other people who have been here in support of Joshua Young.
POLITAN: You know, one thing I`m noticing or actually not noticing here, Natisha Lance, is usually extra security brought in when you have a murder trial verdict. Have you noticed any extra security around the courtroom?
LANCE: No, Vinnie. It`s the same two deputies that have been with us. And actually, Trey Zwicker`s father is just now arriving on the sixth floor, other members of his family as well. He should be going into the courtroom shortly, but the three of them are making their way to talk with each other out here for a little bit, and then should be going inside the courtroom shortly.
POLITAN: If you`re just joining us, you joined at the right moment. We are just moments away from the verdict being delivered in the murder of Trey Zwicker -- he was 14 years old. This trial for his stepbrother -- his stepbrother, Joshua Young, who is now 17, was 15 at the time. They have reached their verdict after eight hours of deliberations.
Right now, the families are beginning to gather inside the courtroom, the jury finishing their dinner. The judge waiting to get word from everyone that everyone`s in place. So this verdict can be delivered. And the way we understand it`s going to happen, Natisha, is that the judge will actually read the verdict?
LANCE: Yes, that is what we have been told, that the judge will read the verdict. The defendant will stand, and whatever that verdict is, that`s what we`ll find out and we`ll go forward and sentencing will come some time after that in the coming days.
POLITAN: My understanding is that the sentencing will take place, if there is a guilty verdict, and again, that`s if and only if there is a guilty verdicts, the sentencing would be on Monday. Two charges here, but murder is the one that everyone has their eye on because that`s the one that carries a potential life sentence for this 17-year-old. Brian Silber, how do you prepare a 17-year-old for this moment?
SILBER: The truth is you can`t. You know, that`s just the honest answer. You know, they`re making use of the people who are there to be the social workers. And I think that`s a very positive thing and a very encouraging thing to do, but the truth of the matter is this is a child. He is not an adult. And he`s looking at this life experience through the prism of a child`s eyes and a child`s maturity level and a child`s sensitivities.
And you know, just the honest answer to your question is, there is no way to prepare him. You know, he`s facing the possibility of losing his life, you know, for all intents and purposes and that just is what it is.
POLITAN: If you`re just joining us folks, the jury has reached their verdict late on a Friday night. I have seen it many times late on Friday nights. If this jury had not been able to reach a verdict tonight, they were going to be sequestered during deliberations. That will not happen because we`re just moments away from that verdict being delivered. And here, we`re beginning to look at the other side of the courtroom. The supporters of Trey Zwicker, the victim in this case, as they wait to hear what this jury says.
Stacey Honowitz, do you think perhaps --
HONOWITZ: Can I just add one --
POLITAN: Go ahead, Stacey please do.
HONOWITZ: No, I was going to say, you know, you asked Brian how you prepare this child, this defendant, for a guilty verdict. And you know, you have to look at the prosecutor, who has to also, and not in the same light, but has to prepare the family in case it`s a not guilty verdict. You have been working with them. You`re emotionally bound to them lots of times. You have been their mouthpiece. They`ve vented to you, and you`re standing up there representing them, but you have to be honest -- if the case -- about the case with them and let them know there is a chance that the jury will return a verdict of not guilty. They have to be prepared for that, too.
It`s very rare that a prosecutor is ever going to say to anybody, look, we have a locked case. We have 100 percent, even when we have confessions. You just never know what a jury is going to do. So while you talk to the defense about how you prepare the defendant, the prosecutor on the other side is preparing the family for something that they might not want to hear.
POLITAN: All right, we just saw on our cameras, Trey Zwicker`s mom enter the courtroom. Natisha Lance is up there on the sixth floor. Natisha -- it seems like most of the family members have arrived.
LANCE: Yes, Vinnie. As you said, Amanda Campbell went into the courtroom. Her brother is also here. He testified earlier in the trial about the basketball game and also Terry Zwicker and his wife, Teri, are also here. They`re outside the courtroom (inaudible) their thoughts for a minute.
I went over to Terry and asked him how he was feeling. He said he`s trying to prepare himself for either way, he said guilty is what they`re looking for. And not guilty, it`s going to be something heavy for them to deal with. He feels like the prosecution`s case was all there. He said he wouldn`t be able to understand if it were a not guilty verdict.
POLITAN: It`s absolutely amazing when you think about the impact that one or two words will have on two families that are about to be uttered inside this courtroom. There you see Trey Zwicker`s mom closing her eyes for a moment, looking like she`s starting to feel the intensity of this moment.
As we pan to the other side, there you see the foster parents of Joshua Young. Had the opportunity to speak with Susan Stoneburner just moments ago and spoke with them last night on "HLN AFTER DARK". They want to take Joshua Young back with them, with the rest of their family and their other two children. They are ready and willing and able to do that.
So if Joshua Young is found not guilty, he will have a home -- a home that is waiting for him. They`re preparing his room. They want to get him back into school. But if the words are guilty, that`s not going to happen. That will not happen if the word "guilty" is spoken by this judge on behalf of this jury, as this verdict is delivered on the charge of murder.
So again, you`re just joining us, we have a verdict. We`re just waiting for all the parties to assemble inside the courtroom.
Jean Casarez is with us. Jean, for someone who has never been inside a courtroom at this moment, you know, just before a murder verdict is read, it`s really hard to describe, isn`t it, Jean?
CASAREZ: Yes. It`s so tense. It is so tense. But, I can`t imagine being a party to it -- being a family member. I mean, if it`s tense for someone like me in that courtroom because you don`t know which way it`s going to go, what could it be like for a family member that is having it as a real life experience?
And this is a particularly difficult case. And it`s a particularly young defendant. This will determine the rest of his life, virtually, what we`re going to hear right now because remember, he`s facing life in prison.
POLITAN: Unbelievable. We`re just moments away from the verdict being announced inside this Kentucky courtroom, the jury deliberating for eight hours. And there you see some of the supporters of Joshua Young on the one side of the courtroom. On the screen right, screen left side of the courtroom, are the supporters of Trey Zwicker, the victim in this case, the 14-year-old boy who never had an opportunity to grow up.
On the other side, will this 17-year-old boy have an opportunity to grow up outside of a prison? Or will he grow up and spend the rest of his life behind bars? Will he join his father behind bars? His father, who admitted and pled guilty to this murder but came inside this courtroom and said his son had nothing to do with it, that he did it alone and by himself.
The jury had to try to figure out all of this, and apparently, they have. They`ve gone through the facts. They`ve gone through the law. And together, all 12 have reached a verdict. They`ve reached consensus. They all agree. And think about how difficult that is sometimes to get 12 people to agree to anything, let alone a case as complicated and emotional as this one is.
Brian Silber, I`m always stunned that 12 people can reach an agreement, but they do. And they have done it here.
SILBER: Well, I got to tell you, that`s always one of the main concerns when you`re in trial. You know, are they going to agree or are they not going to agree? Frankly, you get 12 different people with 12 different backgrounds, 12 different jobs, 12 different walks of lives, you know, for them to come to agree on one thing sometimes can be a mission impossible.
As a defense lawyer, you prey on that. You know, you highlight the differences. You want to get them debating. You want to ask the tough questions. You want to bring out the lack of evidence, the conflict in the evidence, where`s the reasonable doubt? Because when they go in the deliberation room, you don`t want everybody to have a kumbaya where we all sing along and say, ok, we agree.
POLITAN: Brian I just have to interrupt you because we`re looking at this very emotional picture of Terry Zwicker right now. His head is down as any moment now will find out if the young boy he believes killed and murdered his son will be guilty or not.
We`re going to sign off for the moment to "NANCY GRACE MYSTERIES" but you won`t miss the verdict. We will bring you the verdict when it happens.