Jury to view house where Hamilton firefighter died in fire

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 10:47 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 11:18 AM


            William “Billy” Tucker is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
William “Billy” Tucker is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Jurors will view the Pater Avenue residence where Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman died in 2015 during the trial next month for the two men charged in connection with the fatal arson fire.

Last month the defense attorney for William “Billy” Tucker filed a motion for a jury view.

Tucker, 46, of Richmond, Ky., is charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire at his uncle’s residence at 1310 Pater Ave., where Wolterman died.

EXCLUSIVE: Burglar alarm sent police to Hamilton home where firefighter died

The uncle, 66-year-old Lester Parker, who is the home’s owner, is facing the same charges.

Prosecutors say Parker solicited Tucker to light the fire. Parker and his wife were in Las Vegas when the fire broke out during the early morning hours.

In the motion, defense attorney Tamara Sack indicated there may be a witness who can place Tucker near the scene before the fire.

CLOSER LOOK: Why 2 men charged in firefighter’s death aren’t in Butler County Jail

In the motion, Sack said jury view of the scene is material to facts of the indictment specifically “regarding the location of the fire … leading to Grand Avenue at the location where the State’s witness alleges the defendant (Tucker) left the vehicle and headed on foot to the 1310 Pater Ave. location.”

During a hearing Wednesday, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the state did not oppose the jury viewing the scene.

MORE: Attempt to move Hamilton firefighter death trial fails

A three-week trial for both Tucker and Parker is scheduled to begin Nov. 6 in Butler County Common Pleas Court. Both men have court-appointed attorneys.

Wolterman died when he fell through the home’s first floor while fighting the blaze on Dec. 28, 2015.

WATCH: Local racehorse running strong after being saved from a slaughterhouse 

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 12:12 PM

Killean Cut Kid, who often raced at the Dayton raceway, has now made a full recovery after almost being shipped to a slaughter house.  

When Save our Standardbreds From Slaughter (SOSS) found the horse, his legs were covered in ulcers so severe that those caring for him say it was difficult for the horse to stand. 

RELATED: See more trending stories on WHIO.com

In a recent social post Kid’s new owners posted the statement, “They said I would never heal, they said I needed skin grafts, they said I should be euthanized ... Look at ME now!”

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Now Kid can be seen running briskly with one of his friends and seems to be fully enjoying his new home. 

Kroger making big changes to its stores: What’s really going on?

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:20 AM

Kroger May Close Nearly 800 Convenience Stores

Cincinnati-based Kroger recently announced plans to revamp around 20 to 30 percent of its 2,793 stores.

As part of the “Restock Kroger” campaign, the grocery chain will try to change the customer experience at as many as 838 stores, according to the company. As a major local grocer, Kroger employs more than 8,100 associates in the Miami Valley.

Kroger plans to invest $9 billion over the next three years in the campaign. To find out what some of the changes Kroger will be making to its grocery stores read: 5 big changes Kroger is making to hundreds of stores

Dazzling Orionid meteor shower lights up the sky; what to know, how to watch

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:40 AM

The Orionid Meteor Shower

The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak in the next few days and you don’t want to miss out.

>> Read more trending news

The annual shower has been called “one of the most beautiful showers of the year” by Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, and is a popular celestial event for stargazers everywhere.

Here are 11 things you need to know about the 2017 Orionid meteor shower:

Why are these meteor showers called Orionids?

The meteors radiate (or originate) from a region close to the constellation Orion the Hunter.

What causes the meteor shower?

According to Space.com, the meteor’s particles come from Comet 1P (or Halley’s Comet), which zips by the planet every 75 to 76 years.

>> Related: Mark your calendar for these 2017 meteor showers

As the comet passes Earth, it leaves behind “a trail of comet crumbs” and every now and then, the Earth’s orbit around the sun crosses paths with the comet’s debris.

What’s the difference between a meteoroid, meteor and, meteorite anyway?

Cooke told Space.com that a meteoroid is essentially space debris. For example, the crumbs from Halley’s Comet are meteoroids.

Once the meteoroids enter Earth’s atmosphere, they become meteors (or shooting stars).

>> Related: Perseids light up the night sky in annual celestial show for stargazers

Though most meteors disintegrate before hitting the ground, meteors that do strike the surface of the planet are called meteorites, Cooke said.

How fast will the Orionids be?

According to Cooke, some will zoom at speeds up to 148,000 miles per hour in relative speed — less than four miles per hour slower than the speediest sky show of the year, the Leonids.

When will it peak?

The Orionid shower will peak between Friday, Oct. 20 and Saturday, Oct. 21 this year, but you may be able to catch a meteor or two before then.

Peak visibility is around 2 a.m.

Orionid meteors usually fly between Oct. 2 to Nov. 7 each year.

>> Related: Eerie, awe-inspiring: 5 ways to explore Georgia's new Dark Sky Park

How many meteors will I see?

According to EarthSky.org, you can expect to see up to 10-20 meteors per hour during peak time.

Where do I have to go to watch the meteor showers?

The meteor shower will be visible from anywhere on the planet, but be sure to go somewhere far from city lights.

How to find the shape of Orion the Hunter

The meteor shower will radiate from Orion’s sword, which is slightly north of the star Betelgeuse.

According to Space.com, it could be helpful or just educational to find the shape of Orion the Hunter as you get settled for the show.

But staring straight at the point of origin won’t do much for you, Cooke said. That’s because “meteors close to the radiant have short trails and are harder to see — so you want to look away from Orion.”

Your best bet is to simply look up at the vast, dark sky.

GLOBE at Night has a nifty Orion Finder Chart that will show you Orion based on your location, for anyone interested.

From globeatnight.org:

The easiest way to find Orion is to go outside in the evening and look in the southwest sky if you are in the northern hemisphere or the northwestern sky if you are in the southern hemisphere. If you live on or near the equator, he will be visible in the western sky. You are looking for three bright stars close together in an almost-straight line. These three stars represent Orion's belt. The two bright stars to the north are his shoulders and the two to the south are his feet. 

>> Related: Photos: Perseid meteor shower brightens the night sky

Do I need binoculars?

According to Space.com, binoculars and telescopes won’t actually help. That’s because those tools are designed to magnify and focus on stationary objects in the sky.

The naked eye will do just fine.

How to safely watch the shower

Space.com recommends heading outdoors around 1:30 a.m. and letting your eyes adjust to the darkness for about 20 minutes.

How to watch the Orionid meteor shower livestream 

Catch a live stream event at Slooh.com on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22. Slooh will be pulling images from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands in Tenerife's Teide National Park, one of the world's darkest places, according to Travel and Leisure.

Read more about the Orionid meteor shower at Space.com.

Family says Trump told fallen soldier's widow that husband 'knew what he signed up for'

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 11:41 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 12:40 PM

Reports: President Trump to Widow of Fallen Soldier, He Knew "What He Signed Up For"

Update, 12:39 p.m. ET Wednesday: President Donald Trump on Wednesday afternoon staunchly denied an account by a congresswoman and the family of a fallen U.S. Army soldier that claimed the president told the soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for” before his death.

>> Read more trending news

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, first spoke about the comment, which she said was made during a call Tuesday to La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson.

“I didn’t say what that congresswoman said – didn’t say it at all,” the president told reporters Wednesday. “I did not say what she said, and I’d like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said.”

Wilson said Trump told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for” in a phone call put on speakerphone as she, Wilson and others headed to Miami International Airport on Tuesday to meet the body of La David Johnson.

“She knows it and she now is not saying it,” Trump said. “I had a very nice conversation with the woman, the wife, who sounded like a lovely woman.”

Despite the president’s claim, Wilson has not backed down from her account. She highlighted her position on Twitter shortly after Trump spoke.

UPDATE, 12:08 p.m. ET Wednesday: The family of a fallen U.S. Army soldier killed earlier this month in an ambush in Niger on Wednesday confirmed that President Donald Trump told the soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

“Yes the statement is true,” Cowanda Jones-Johnson, the mother of slain Sgt. La David Johnson, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, first spoke about the comment, which she said was made during a call Tuesday to La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson. The president had called Myeshia Johnson as she, Wilson and others were on their way to Miami International Airport, to meet the body of La David Johnson.

Trump has denied the report.

“I was in the car and I heard the full conversation,” Jones-Johnson told the AP, adding that the president disrespected her son, her daughter-in-law and her husband.

The president said Wednesday that he had proof that he didn’t tell Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” although he did not elaborate.

UPDATE, 11:22 a.m. ET Wednesday: U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, said on Wednesday morning that she was not the only one to hear President Donald Trump tell the widow of a fallen soldier that her husband “knew what he signed up for” after the president accused her of lying about her account.

“(I) was not the only one who heard and was dismayed by his insensitive remarks,” Wilson wrote in a tweet Wednesday morning.

Wilson told CNN that Trump was on speakerphone when he made the remark Tuesday to Myeshia Johnson, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson. The president had called Myeshia Johnson as she, Wilson and others were on their way to Miami International Airport, to meet the body of La David Johnson.

La David Johnson was one of four Army soldiers killed earlier this month in an ambush in Niger.

Wilson told CNN that Trump’s comments were overheard by others in the car, including the driver, the master sergeant, her press person and the widow’s aunt and uncle.

“The president, evidently, is lying, because what I said is true,” Wilson said. “I have no reason to lie on the President of the United States, with a dead soldier in my community -- I have no time, I have no motive.”

Trump denied telling Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for” and claimed to have proof to refute Wilson’s account. He did not elaborate.

UPDATE, 7:38 a.m. ET Wednesday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to deny reports that he told a fallen soldier’s widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for.”

“Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!” Trump tweeted.

>> See the tweet here

The tweet was referring to U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, who said she heard Trump say the words when he offered his condolences to Army Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson.

Wilson stood by her remarks. 

"I don't know what kind of proof he's talking about. I'm not the only person that was in the car," Wilson told CNN. "I have proof, too. This man is a sick man and he feels no pity for no one."

ORIGINAL STORY: President Donald Trump reportedly told the pregnant widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson that “he knew what he signed up for...” in a call Tuesday afternoon according to WPLG.

Johnson’s body, one of the four Army servicemen killed in action in Niger on Oct. 4, returned to the United States Tuesday. The flight bearing Johnson’s remains landed at Miami International Airport, according to WPLG.

The plane was met by Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, who is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Also present was an honor guard and local politicians.

Trump called Johnson to offer his condolences, telling her that her fallen husband “knew what he signed up for,” adding that “when it happens it hurts anyway,” a congresswoman who said she was present for the call said.

That response is generating some controversy, with some saying the president was unnecessarily callous and blunt. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Florida, said she heard the call with Trump and couldn’t believe her ears.

“It’s so insensitive. He should have not have said that. He shouldn’t have said it,” she said.

Also killed in action on Oct. 4 were Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and four soldiers from Niger, according to the New York Daily News. Two other Americans were wounded.

Rare.us contributed to this report.