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Witness: Hamilton homeowner had committed arson before

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
By: Lauren Pack - Staff Writer

A witness in the case of two men charged with arson and murder in the fire that killed Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman says the homeowner had set fire to the Pater Avenue house once before.

Lester Parker, 67, and his nephew William “Billy” Tucker, 46, are on trial for the fire at Parker’s Pater Avenue home that killed Wolterman on Dec. 28, 2015.

MORE: Text allegedly sent by Hamilton arson suspect on morning of fire: ‘Done with the job’

James Parker (no relation to Lester Parker), who is the ex-boyfriend of one of Parker’s daughters, told the jury Thursday that Lester Parker had set fire to the Pater Avenue home once before, in the summer of 2015, in order to collect insurance money.

Tucker, he testified, was also a part of that incident.

MORE: Woman tells jury she gave ride to Hamilton arson suspect for $300 in pills

Defense attorney Tamara Sack questioned James Parker about why he never mentioned Tucker during his written statement to police.

James Parker said he just remembered that detail last week.

MORE: Prosecutor: Hamilton man planned to burn home for insurance money

Defense attorney David Washington questioned James Parker about having a possible vendetta against Lester Parker because he had once evicted him.

James Parker said he had no ill will toward Lester Parker, but contacted police after learning about the December 2015 fire.

MORE: Daughter told police family may have been part of fatal Hamilton arson

Prosecutors say Lester Parker was “under water” financially in December 2015 and hatched a plan to have the house set on fire for insurance money while he and his wife were in Las Vegas. According to prosecutors, Tucker agreed to light the fire in exchange for payment in pills.

The trial is set to resume Monday morning.