After six days of testimony, prosecutors rested their case Wednesday morning in the trial of Joshua Young, the 17-year-old accused in the brutal beating death of his stepbrother.
Young is charged with complicity to murder for his role in the slaying of his stepbrother, 14-year-old Trey Zwicker, in May 2011. Prosecutors say Young acted in concert with his biological father and the victim's stepfather, Josh Gouker, to kill Zwicker.
Gouker pleaded guilty to Zwicker's murder, and was sentenced on July 26 to life in prison. Young's defense attorneys argue that Gouker acted alone when he murdered Zwicker.
After the prosecution rested, defense attorney Peter Schuler moved for the case against Young to be dismissed, saying there wasn't a "scintilla of evidence" proving his client killed Zwicker.
"There's nothing to suggest two weapons. There's nothing to suggest two defendants," said Schulerm arguing the dismissal motion in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Louisville, Kentucky.
The defense had called medical examiner Dr. George Nichols to the stand during the prosecution's case Friday because of a scheduling conflict. Nichols said that he thought Zwicker's injuries were caused by a pipe like Gouker claimed to have used, but, as Judge Berry Willet pointed out Wednesday, the medical examiner couldn't rule out that two people beat Zwicker.
"Even Dr. Nichols' testimony that you place great stock in, he couldn't say there weren't two assailants. But he did preface that by saying that they would have to be standing in the same place, based on the pattern of the wound," Willet said.
"The burden of proof lies on the commonwealth, anything is possible," Schuler said Wednesday. "There would need to be some scientific evidence to show my client's involvement in this with a bat or whatever. The only evidence is that we know is that one person did this.
"There is no evidence to indicate that more than one person did this. So theoretically I guess it is possible that there could have been a bat and a pipe or a pole or something like that ... Anything is theoretically possible. But I think we are going out into the range of pure speculation as to what happened."
Despite Schuler's passionate argument asking for a directed verdict, Willet denied the motion, saying that prosecutors had presented sufficient evidence to send the case to the jury.
Defense attorneys will begin presenting their case Thursday morning, and they informed Willet that they only need a half day.
After the defense rests, the prosecution will have the opportunity to present a rebuttal case.
Willet said if everything goes according to plan, closing arguments could begin Friday, with deliberations beginning that afternoon or Saturday morning.