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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.

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:49 AM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:49 AM

FLOODING: Ohio 725 in Sugarcreek Twp. closed due to high water
FLOODING: Ohio 725 in Sugarcreek Twp. closed due to high water

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • No incidents to report

Surface Street Incidents 

  • No incidents to report

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.

SHELBY COUNTY

  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 

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Firefighter reportedly injured in Darke County fire

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:47 AM

News Center 7 is on the way to the scene of a fire on Butler Township Road in Preble County.

A firefighter has reportedly been injured in a fire in Darke County.

The fire was reported shortly before 3 a.m. in the 1400 block of Preble County Butler Township Road. Around 3 a.m., crews reported there was an explosion and a firefighter was down, according to initial reports.

>> Ohio firearms group says gun owners are ‘doing something’

The fire reportedly started in an attached garage before spreading to the home.

We have a crew headed to the scene. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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Rain returns this week, flooding a concern

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 4:27 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 10:34 PM

Multiple chances for rain this week are leading to some flooding concerns in the Dayton area.

Clouds will be on the increase overnight tonight as rain approaches toward daybreak Monday. Temperatures overnight will be steady in the upper 30s and lower 40s.

  • Rain returns tomorrow
  • More rain mid-week
  • Flooding possible the next few days

MONDAY: Rain returns, and it could be heavy at times. While the chance for storms is not all that high, it can’t be ruled out. Highs will be in the lower to middle 60s.

TUESDAY: More dry time is expected, but storms will be possible later in the evening. Highs will be near 70 degrees.

WEDNESDAY: Rain showers are expected with highs near 60 degrees.

THURSDAY: The chance for rain continues mainly south. Highs will be in the middle 40s. 

FRIDAY: The chance for rain returns again Friday. Highs will be in the middle 50s.

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Self-proclaimed white nationalist banned from Seattle gym

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 12:07 AM

A Seattle gym banned Greg Johnson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist. (Photo: KIRO7.com)
A Seattle gym banned Greg Johnson, a self-proclaimed white nationalist. (Photo: KIRO7.com)

A self-proclaimed white nationalist was banned from a Fremont gym after the owners learned he is a leader in the alt-right community.

>> Read more trending news

The owners of Northwest Fitness Project say Greg Johnson is longer welcome there.

“The trainer terminated his contract and we banned him from the gym,” said Kyle Davis, a co-owner of the gym.

It's a move that has some people wondering if it violates a city ordinance that says "places of public accommodation" can't discriminate based on a person's beliefs.

But the owners of the gym say that ordinance doesn't apply -- because it’s not a public space. To use the space, you must be the client of a trainer.

“There’s no open gym membership, it's not like people can come and go as they please,” Davis said. “Trainers come and run their own businesses out of this location."

“There's a right of first refusal of the independent trainer. And (the trainer) chose to not work with him anymore due to the harm it would cause his reputation, and not wanting to be associated with those views,” Davis said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Greg Johnson an "international figure for white nationalism” and “one of the leading voices of the far-right.”

In September 2017, the New York Times interviewed him undercover and posted it on its website.

In the interview, Johnson says, “I would identify myself as a white nationalist. That states the goals I have politically.”

When asked about people who are Jewish, Johnson says, “The solution would ultimately (be) to expel them.”

Davis said he’s disturbed to hear Johnson’s views.

“I would feel threatened, yes,” he said. “I'm converting to Judaism, my fiancée is Jewish and we want to raise our kids Jewish.”

The owners say after Johnson was banned, a white nationalist publication told followers to post negative reviews on the gym's Yelp and Facebook pages.

“We were at a five (star average review); it went down to a three,” said Matthew Holland, the other co-owner of Northwest Fitness Project.

But hundreds of people supported the gym on social media, helping it bounce back.

“Now we're to like a 4.8,” Holland said. “We have a great community and we didn't realize how awesome they all were. Going through a rough time like this, it was just so encouraging.”

The Puget Sound Anarchists first published last week that Johnson lives in Seattle. It’s also how the gym owners found out about Johnson’s beliefs.

Johnson did not comment.

The gym said it heard Johnson left the area.

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