Man charged in Hamilton firefighter's death had insurance policy due to expire days after fatal fire

Posted at 5:50 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 05:23:03-05

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The man accused of setting a fire that killed a Hamilton firefighter tried to collect on an insurance policy that was set to expire just days after the fire started.

Lester Parker, 66, faces charges of murder and aggravated arson in connection to a fire in his Prater Avenue home that claimed the life of firefighter Patrick Wolterman. Police said the fire started just a few hours before he and his wife left for a trip to Las Vegas.


Lester and Bertha Parker took out an insurance policy on the house from the Cincinnati Insurance Company almost exactly one year before the fire. It was a yearlong policy that was set to expire two days after the fire started.

The insurance company filed a lawsuit against the Parkers this year as the couple tried to collect on their home after the fire.

The company wanted to question the Parkers under oath, but the Parkers exercised their right under the Fifth Amendment to not testify against themselves.

Parker's efforts to collect insurance money on the house failed. A judge ruled against them, finding they didn't cooperate when the company tried to investigate.

In court Tuesday, Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser asked for a high bond to keep Parker in jail.

"Based on certain facts and circumstances with respect to his history with Las Vegas and other gambling episodes in his life, I want to make sure he's not gambling with respect to the sentence that may be imposed in this case," Gmoser said.

Judge Michael Oster set Parker's bond at $500,000. He's due back in court for a pretrial hearing Dec. 19.