Daughter to police: Family may have been part of arson that killed Hamilton firefighter

Published: Wednesday, November 08, 2017 @ 4:35 PM
Updated: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 12:22 PM

Day 2 of testimony in Hamilton Arson Trial

The older daughter of a man on trial for the murder of a Hamilton firefighter testified Wednesday that she is a recovering addict who, while in jail, told police that her family may have been involved in the deadly arson.

MORE: Daughter of man on trial in Hamilton firefighter death testifies about missing items

Melissa Lainhart-Jones is the older daughter of Lester Parker. Parker 67, and his nephew, William “Billy” Tucker, 46, are both charged with arson and murder in the fire at Parker’s Pater Avenue home that killed firefighter Patrick Wolterman on Dec. 28, 2015.

Lainhart-Jones took the stand Wednesday and testified she was an addict in the fall of 2015 and stole pills from her father’s home. She is now a recovering addict, she said.

For the past four weeks leading up to the trial, she has been housed at a hotel paid for by the city of Hamilton, she said.

Lainhart-Jones said she awoke about 4:30 a.m. Dec. 28, 2015, to see a a television screen with her family home in flames. She went to the scene and called her father, who was in Las Vegas with her mother.

From Las Vegas, Lainhart-Jones said Parker told her to “get my (expletive) out of there. Someone is going to pay dearly for that one.”

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

In April 2016, Lainhart-Jones said she was in the Butler County Jail for a probation violation. Paramedics at the jail had treated her for illness and they talked about the death of Patrick Wolterman, she said.

When her father came to visit her in jail, Lainhart-Jones said she told him about the conversation.

“He (Parker) put his head down. He said, ‘tell them that I did not mean for that to happen,’ ” Lainhart-Jones said.

MORE: Owners of home where Hamilton firefighter died refused to discuss insurance claim 

During cross examination by defense attorneys for Parker and Tucker, Lainhart-Jones said she told detectives Tucker as well as another cousin may have been involved in the arson.

Since the fire, Lainhart-Jones said she has received $1,200 in payments from police for information about that fire and to pay her phone bill.

During her testimony, defense attorneys hammered home the fact that there is a monetary reward for information about the deadly arson.

“But I was telling them (police) before money was involved,” Lainhart-Jones said.

24-hour CrossFit workout launches today in honor of fallen soldiers

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 6:04 AM

 (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
(Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

CrossFit 937, Spring Valley and State Route 48 in Centerville, on Thanksgiving Night will launch a 24-hour memorial workout to remember fallen soldiers.

RELATED: 4th US soldier dead after attack in Niger

Beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, and every hour until 8 p.m. Friday, owner Mike Burnett will lead a workout in honor of a named fallen soldier.

The event is being held also to raise money and canned goods, with every person who participates being asked to bring a canned good for a local VFW post or foodbank.

RELATED: Thanksgiving Forecast

For the uninitiated, CrossFit is constantly varied and functional movements performed at high intensity. The movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more.

Burnett has participated in CrossFit competitions, most recently in Toledo, and has been ranked as one of the nation's top crossfit participants. This special holiday workout would also resonate because he is a Marine who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Emily Stork, a member at CrossFit 937 since September 2014, said she will be taking part in the 6 a.m. Friday workout. 

When she found out about the 24-hour memorial workout, she said her first reaction was "Mike's crazy. I actually think it's great."

Stork said to get Thanksgiving Day started, Burnett will be holding a holiday workout at 9 a.m. for friends and family of Crossfit 937 members who are in town for the day.

California woman thwarts abduction of her children

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 5:59 AM

Mother and child in a stroller.
NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Mother and child in a stroller.(NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies are searching for a man wanted in the attempted kidnapping of two children in California on Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news

Deputies said a mother was with her two children in a jogging stroller in Valencia around 11 a.m. Wednesday when the man suddenly approached her from behind, KCAL reported.

Investigators said the man grabbed the stroller’s handle and tried to pull it away, but the woman managed to regain control and ran away. She called 911 but the man was gone when officers arrived, KCAL reported.

“My energy goes out to this mother,” said Cindy Potts, also a mother of two young children.

Though she has no connection to the attempted kidnapping, it still leaves Potts rattled.

“The thought of someone taking away my most precious cargo, my life fulfillment, it’s an empty feeling and it’s a frightening feeling,” she told KCAL.

The man is described as a transient, police said.

Crews battle fire at vacant house in Dayton

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 5:52 AM

A vacant house was damaged by a fire early Thursday morning.

The fire was reported around 4:35 a.m. in the 200 block of Deeds Avenue.

>> Space heater causes mattress to catch fire in Dayton home

The fire started in the living room and destroyed the home’s front porch, according to initial reports.

An investigator has been called to the scene.

Dry and cool weather for Thanksgiving

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 4:53 AM

A cool day is expected in the Dayton area on this Thanksgiving, with warmer temperatures returning tomorrow.


  • Clouds for the first half of today
  • More sunshine Friday
  • Slight chance for rain early Saturday

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar


Thanksgiving: We’ll see clouds to start the day, but as we head into the afternoon, a few more breaks in the clouds are expected, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar. Temperatures will be a notch higher today as we top out in the lower to mid-40s.

>> Storm Center 7: Thanksgiving travel weather outlook

Tonight: More clearing is expected overnight. Temperatures will drop back into the upper 20s.

Friday: Those shopping early will see early morning temperatures in the 20s. Sunny skies are expected with eventual highs reaching the lower 50s.

>> WHIO WEATHER APP: Have it for your Thanksgiving travel

Saturday: There is a slight chance for a few passing showers early Saturday as a cold front moves through, but chances are fairly slim. Most look to stay dry Saturday. Highs will be in the lower 50s early, then fall through the 40s most of the day.

>> Christmas tree farms get healthy on good weather

>> How to watch NewsCenter 7 if you’re traveling

Sunday: Partly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower to mid-40s.