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Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 5:33 PM
HAMILTON — A jury is scheduled Tuesday to visit a burned out Hamilton home as part of the trial for two men accused in Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman’s death.
William “Billy” Tucker and his uncle Lester Parker are both charged with two counts of aggravated arson and murder in connection to Wolterman’s death in December 2015.
Wolterman died when he fell through the first floor of the Pater Avenue home while fighting a blaze.
Prosecutors allege that Parker, 67, solicited Tucker, 46, of Richmond, Ky., to start the fire at his residence. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Parker and Tucker walked into the largest courtroom in Butler County on Monday for jury selection wearing street clothes. Tucker, whose hair was nearly shoulder length while awaiting trial, had a fresh haircut that defense attorney Tamara Sack said had been cut at the Preble County Jail, where he has been housed since his arrest last winter.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens requested 125 potential jurors for selection. Eighty showed up for duty, and of those, about a dozen said they would have difficulty serving during a lengthy trial.
Stephens has said the trial could last three weeks.
Some of the potential jurors said they knew a witness likely to be called to testify or one of the attorneys involved in the case.
A woman said she went to school with members of Wolterman’s family and another man said he was a firefighter in the Dayton area and had attended Wolterman’s funeral.
“I would be the worst possible person to be on the jury,” the man told the judge.
Prosecutors indicated detectives, a travel agent and an insurance expert were among those likely to testify during the trial.
Both Parker and Tucker have declined to attend Tuesday’s scheduled jury view of the home and surrounding area.
Two weeks ago, Sack filed four motions under seal, including one notice of alibi for Tucker.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said he could not comment on the sealed motions, including an alleged alibi for Tucker.
But he said he stands by the indictment.
“I plan on proving this case as if (Tucker) was there and set the fire and he did so after being solicited by Lester Parker,” Gmoser said. “I stand by our allegations and we intend to prove every single one of them.”
Other motions filed indicate there is a witness who can place Tucker at or near the scene of the fire.
Sack and Parker’s attorney David Washington both requested the jury view the scene at 1310 Pater Ave.
Emergency crews were alerted to the Dec. 28 fire by a burglary alarm. When police arrived at Parker’s home, they found heavy smoke pouring out of the two-story building.
Wolterman entered the burning home because he and other firefighters were told an older couple may have been trapped inside.
Published: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 5:33 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 @ 5:33 AM
— Tropical Storm Maria continues to churn in the Atlantic Ocean. The deadly storm has claimed lives on multiple islands in its path.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:34 PM
— A new species of venomous snake has been discovered in Australia and biologists say it is dangerously close to extinction.
The new species of bandy snake was found at Weipa on the west coast of the Cape York Peninsula by researchers with the University of Queensland.
Bryan Fry, an associate professor at the University of Queensland who lead the team of biologists, said that the discovery happened by chance.
“Bandy-bandy is a burrowing snake, so Freek Vonk, from the Naturalis Museum, and I were surprised to find it on a concrete block by the sea,” Fry said. “We later discovered that the snake had slithered over from a pile of bauxite rubble waiting to be loaded onto a ship.”
The snake turned out to be genetically different than any other snake.
“On examination by my student Chantelle Derez, the bandy-bandy turned out to be a new species, visually and genetically distinct from those found on the Australian East coast and parts of the interior.”
Another specimen was found in its natural habitat near Weipa, and another was killed by a car close to the mine.
Five of the snakes were found in all.
Fry said the species is at risk due to local development.
“Bauxite mining is a major economic activity in the region, and it may be reshaping the environment to the detriment of native plants and animals,” said Fry.
Venom from the snake could be rich in compounds that could be used to discover new medications, Fry said.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 7:13 PM
LOS ANGELES — Destiny’s Child star Michelle Williams has reportedly checked herself into a mental health facility, TMZ reports.
Williams posted a letter to her fans on her Instagram page on Tuesday.
“I recently listened to the same advice I have given thousands around the world and sought help from a great team of professionals,” Williams posted.
Sources told TMZ that Williams is receiving treatment at a facility near Los Angeles.
Williams has been open about her struggles with depression, revealing her story in an interview on “The Talk” last year.
Williams recently reunited with Destiny’s Child members Beyonce and Kelly Rowland at Coachella in April.
Published: Monday, July 16, 2018 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 6:06 PM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 5:53 p.m. (July 17): Niguel Hamilton’s family has retained the services of civil right attorney Ben Crump.
Crump, who has represented the family of Trayvon Martin and taken on other high profile cases, was retained by the Hamilton family to “pursue justice,” according to a statement issued Tuesday.
“They don't understand how you have three certified swimming instructors and only four children in the pool, and yet you lose one of them,” Crump said of the family. “They're heartbroken, and they just are searching for answers.”
The Hamilton family was paying for swimming lessons a Lohrey Recreation Center to prevent exactly this kind of tragedy, Crump said.
The attorney was in town Tuesday and he said he’s helping the Hamilton family plan Niguel’s home-going celebrations this weekend. He said he also plans to push the city for an explanation of how the boy could have died.
“The family has gotten no answers at this point,” Crump said.
Niguel’s parents released a statement for the first time Tuesday: “No parent should ever have to endure such a preventable loss, and we want to make sure no other parents suffer a loss like this."
Crump added: "He had his whole life ahead of him. He never ever, ever, ever should have been taken this soon."
Services for Niguel are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Timothy Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton.
The 6-year-old pulled from a Dayton pool last week has died, according to the coroner’s office.
Niguel Hamilton died at the hospital Sunday night, officials said.
Hamilton was pulled from the indoor pool at Lohrey Recreation Center in Dayton on July 12.
The city released a statement Friday afternoon: “A thorough investigation is underway. Out of respect for the family involved, we will not be making additional comments at this time.”
A Dayton Police Department detective also has been assigned to the case.
Niguel Hamilton was one of about four children in the indoor pool for swim lessons at the center, the boy’s grandfather, Willie Hamilton said.
“He’s happy, full of life, loving, smart,” his grandfather said Friday. “Niguel is a good kid. He is a loving kid. Everybody who meets Niguel loves him.”
The last thing Hamilton remembers of Niguel’s swim lesson is that he saw him with his class in the deep end, and that Niguel, who is 6 but small for his age, had just gone off the diving board with his instructor’s assistance.
Shortly after that, a lifeguard said they didn’t see Niguel in the water and asked if he had seen him, whether he had gone to the restroom.
“I got up, went to the bathroom and looked around and couldn’t find him,” Hamilton said.
The lifeguards then got everyone out of the pool and searched again, in vain.