2 guilty in firefighter’s death: ‘While we were planning a funeral, they were gambling in Las Vegas’

Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 @ 1:55 PM

Lester Parker and William Tucker found guilty in Hamilton firefighter murder trial

Nearly two years after a fire killed a Hamilton firefighter, homeowner Lester Parker and his nephew, William Tucker, were convicted of aggravated arson and murder and sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

The jury of five women and seven men deliberated a little more than two hours before delivering the verdict Wednesday morning. The courtroom was packed with the family and fellow firefighters of Patrick Wolterman, who died on Dec. 28, 2015, when he fell through the floor of Parker’s burning home on Pater Avenue in Hamilton.

MORE: Tears, screams fill courtroom in Hamilton arson trial

Content Continues Below

Parker, 68, stood first with his attorney, David Washington, when the verdict was read. Then Tucker, 50, of Richmond, Ky., stood with his attorney, Tamara Sack. Neither defendant showed emotion when he heard the guilty verdicts.

Many in the courtroom cried, including Wolterman’s widow, Bre, and several family and friends. Parker’s wife, Bertha, and Tucker’s mother, Mae, also sobbed.

Parker was convicted of conspiring with Tucker to set his house on fire for insurance money and Tucker was convicted of setting the blaze for payment in pain pills.

Washington told Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Stephens before sentencing: “It’s a sad day, but we respect the process.”

MORE: Hamilton homeowner, nephew take stand in firefighter murder trial

Sack also expressed a similar sentiment. “We respect the verdict,” she said. “It wasn’t an easy case by any means.”

Both defense attorneys indicated they would file appeals. Parker and Tucker declined to make a statement before sentencing.

Bre Wolterman told the judge she was 31 when firefighters knocked on her door two years ago and told her her  husband Patrick had fallen through the floor. They couldn’t tell her if he would live.

“We had been married not even seven months,” she told Judge Greg Stephens. “These two men robbed me of my whole future. They not only took my husband from me they took my life away. We didn’t even have children, they took that away. I ask you to impose the maximum sentence on them.”

MORE: Experts testify about ‘burner’ phones, Facebook messages in Hamilton arson trial

Patrick Wolterman’s mother, Debbie, also addressed the judge before sentencing.

“I wish I could asked for leniency, I can’t,” Debbie Wolterman said. “While we were planning a funeral, they were gambling in Las Vegas. They have shown no remorse. It think the only thing they are sorry about is that they got caught.”

Cheryl Sullivan, Parker’s daughter, testified during the trial that she drove her parents to the airport on Dec. 27, 2015, for the couple’s trip to Las Vegas. She testified that she noticed things missing from the house that had been there on Christmas Eve.

“Some things were moved around, some things not where they were supposed to be,” Sullivan said, adding that angel figurines had replaced family photos in the living room and a “butler” statue was gone.

Prosecutors say Parker packed up items he held dear, including pictures of his two daughters, and removed them from the house before the fire.

Sullivan testified that her father handed her four envelopes with bills in them, including the mortgage and insurance, and told her to “hold them.”

Before boarding the plane, Sullivan said her father called her and told her: “The important papers are in the garage if something happens.”

Weeks later, when her parents moved to another home in Hamilton, Sullivan said she found a bag that her parents had taken to Las Vegas and in it were several framed family photos, including those that she and her sister had noticed missing from the Pater Avenue home’s living room.

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

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser also addressed the judge before sentencing.

“This was never a case where the state of Ohio suggested there be payback or vengeance for Patrick Wolterman,” Gmoser said, referring to an argument made earlier by a defense attorney. “He is indeed an American hero. He went into that house with the full understanding in his mind that he was was going to save a life — or lives — of occupants. Unknown to him, they were in Las Vegas.”

Gmoser said Wolterman lost his life for a few “lousy, miserable pills by a couple drug dealers and for gain.”

While the men were each convicted of two arson charges for igniting the house and for causing serious physical harm in the act, by law they could only be sentenced for murder because the aggravated arson led to the murder.

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

Judge Stephens then sentenced the men with the mandatory sentence required by law — life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Enon police officer released from jail in Perry Twp. stabbing; 2nd man still detained

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 12:01 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 11:28 PM

Authorities said two men, including one who indicated he was an off-duty police officer, were arrested following a stabbing that left a woman in critical condition. The stabbing happened at a home on Wolf Creek Pike. News Center 7's Mike Campbell reports.

The investigation continues into a stabbing in Perry Twp. late Tuesday night that left a woman in critical condition:

  • Dwight Richard, a part-time Enon police officer arrested in the incident, is no longer in jail
  • Tyler Minton, also arrested, remained in jail Wednesday night
  • The woman, who was stabbed in the neck, was taken to Miami Valley Hospital

UPDATE @ 10:25 p.m.: Dwight Richard, 49, the part-time Enon police officer arrested in the stabbing of a woman late Tuesday night, has been released from the Montgomery County Jail. He was not listed as part of the jail roster, according to a check of the online record.

Content Continues Below

Tyler Minton, 31, also arrested in the same incident, remained in jail pending formal charges.

Enon Police Chief Lew Wilcox said his department is in the process of placing Officer Richard on leave because of his connection to the stabbing.

Richard has been a part-time officer at the Enon department since September 2008.

Richard and Minton were arrested in the 11,000 block of Wolf Creek Pike -- at the same address where the stabbing was reported -- and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of felonious assault. Formal charges are pending.

Dwight M. Richard (Contributed Photo/Montgomery County Jail)

>>Semi driver cited in SB I-75 crash in Miami County that sends 2 to hospital

Richard, when he called 911 to report the stabbing, identified himself as a police officer and asked Minton not to shoot him.

Tyler Minton (Contributed Photo/Montgomery County Jail)

“I’m an off-duty officer,” Richard said in the call. The stabbing was reported about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Richard told authorities the woman had been stabbed in the neck.

SCENE: Stabbing reported in Perry Twp.

“Tyler please don’t shoot me,” Richard said during the 911 call. “I love you please don’t.”

Richard told the 911 dispatcher he was about 100 yards behind the property when police arrived.

“I’ve gone out back because I think he has a weapon,” Richard told the dispatcher. “There are multiple firearms in the house and I believe he has one.”

Police have not said what roles Richard and Minton may have had in the stabbing.

The condition of the woman, whose name has not been released, is not available.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called to assist in the investigation.

Police said the stabbing was an isolated incident, however did not disclose the circumstances that led to the violence.

In the aftermath of the stabbing, evidence markers dotted the road and the driveway of the two-story white house on Wolf Creek Pike.

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Shooting in Greene County leaves one dead 

We’re working to learn more. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Man suffers stab wound to the leg in Dayton

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 11:31 PM

Man suffers leg wound in stabbing

A man who was stabbed in the leg late Wednesday night was taken to Miami Valley Hospital.

Crews were called around 11 p.m. to the 1000 block of East Stewart Street in Dayton.

>> Huber Heights officer uses Taser to stop fight that leads to ‘Signal 99’ call for assistance

Content Continues Below

The victim’s stab wound was not life-threatening, police said.

Officers were searching the area for a suspect. It’s not clear whether anyone was arrested.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Trending - Most Read Stories

Huber Heights officer uses Taser to stop fight that leads to ‘Signal 99’ call for assistance

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 9:59 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 10:50 PM

Huber Heights police call for assistance after fight

UPDATE @ 10:50 p.m.

About three or four people were issued courts summonses for disorderly conduct tonight after they were fighting in the street.

A Huber Heights police officer was called to a report of people arguing on Chesham Drive. As the officer got out of his cruiser, some of them started to fight and others joined in, Huber Heights police Sgt. David Garlow said.

Content Continues Below

>> Vandals cause $2,000 damage to Riverside baseball concession stand

“He had to deploy his Taser against one of the people,” Garlow said.

The officer called for help, but it turned into a “Signal 99” for an officer in need of urgent assistance when dispatchers were unable to get back in touch with the officer during the incident, Garlow said.

>> 1 taken to hospital from accidental drowning in Washington Twp.

Several people suffered minor injuries as a result of their fighting, but it was not inflicted by the officer, Garlow said.

The officer was not hurt.

FIRST REPORT

A fight led police tonight to issue a “Signal 99” call for an officer in need of urgent assistance.

The call was made around 9:50 p.m. in the area behind Wayne High School in Huber Heights.

>> Good Sam hospital employee finds stolen gun in ceiling tile

The fight did not happen on school grounds, Huber Heights police dispatch said.

The “Signal 99” call was canceled shortly after it was made once backup arrived on scene.

We have a crew on the way and will update this report.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Trending - Most Read Stories

Body cam video shows capture of Springfield bank robbery suspect

Published: Saturday, July 14, 2018 @ 12:02 PM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 9:45 PM

The Clark County Sheriff's Office has released body cam video of the arrest of a man who is accused of robbing the Security National Bank in Springfield.

Body camera video just released Wednesday captured the moments a Dayton man was arrested, accused of robbing a Springfield bank on Saturday.

  • Security National Bank robbed at gunpoint July 14
  • Ricky Jenkins, 27, charged with aggravated robbery, fleeing and eluding
  • He was arrested in Medway following a high-speed chase

“Get on the ground now! You’re under arrest!”

Body camera video from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office shows the moments on Saturday when a deputy apprehended 27-year-old Ricky Jenkins of Dayton.

Content Continues Below
Ricky Jenkins(Clark County Jail)

Jenkins had a gun when he held up Security National Bank, 1756 N. Limestone St., then fled with a bag of the bank’s money in a vehicle at a high rate of speed with Springfield officers in pursuit.

>> Police ID suspected driver in crash that left 1 woman dead after police pursuit

Jenkins crashed in the area of Interstate 675 and fled on foot, but not before he dropped the money bag. All the money was recovered, Springfield police Lt. Matthew Buynak said, and a gun was reportedly recovered from the vehicle.

(DeANGELO BYRD / STAFF)

Neighbors in the Medway area alerted deputies that Jenkins was knocking on doors looking for a ride. A short time later deputies found him riding in someone else’s car in the 11000 block of Lower Valley Pike, Buynak said. 

He was arrested and booked into the Clark County Jail.

>> Enon police officer 1 of 2 arrested in woman’s stabbing in Perry Twp.

Bond is $150,000 for Jenkins, who pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated robbery and fleeing and eluding during his arraignment in Clark County Municipal Court.

During the pursuit and search, the ramp from eastbound Interstate 70 to southbound Interstate 675 was closed.

Multiple agencies were involved in the search, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Huber Heights Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Springfield Police Division.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Trending - Most Read Stories