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Daughter testifies against homeowner Lester Parker in firefighter Patrick Wolterman's death

Posted at 6:55 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-08 20:07:11-05

HAMILTON, Ohio - "I didn't mean for this to happen."

According to his daughter, that is what Lester Parker said after Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman was killed fighting a fire at Parker’s house two years ago.

Melissa Jones testified against her father Wednesday and described a conversation with him.

Jones said she had been talking to EMT's in the jail after she had violated probation.

"It was the people that worked right along side of Patrick," Jones said.

At some point afterward,  Parker visited her and she conveyed the EMT's sadness about Wolterman’s death to her father.

"He just kinda put his head down and he looked up at the camera - like he was looking me right in the face - he was looking at a camera but he told me. ‘You tell them that I did not mean for that to happen,’" Jones said.

Jones  also testified that when she arrived at the fire scene her father told her over the phone to get out of there because someone would get into trouble.

Later, when she was questioned by police, Jones said she dropped Billy Tucker's name as someone cops should look into.

"(Det. Webb) asked me if Dad was the one to have done it, who he would have had help him,” she said. “I gave him Billy's name."

Parker and his nephew, Billy Tucker are charged with aggravated arson and murder. Prosecutors says Parker paid Tucker with pills to start the fire.  Both men face life in prison if convicted.

Parker’s defense attorney, David Washington, attacked Jones’ credibility, calling her a drug user who has engaged in criminal activity and who has received payments and a hotel room from the city of Hamilton for her cooperation.

Here's part of their exchange:

Attorney: "Oct. 31, 2016 … you received another $60 from the city, yes?”

Jones: “Yes.”

Attorney: “Nov. 15, 2016 … you received another $20 from an officer for information regarding the fire, yes?”

Jones:  “Yes.”

Attorney:  “On Nov. 22, 2016 …  you received another $60  from the city for information about the fire, yes?”

Jones: “Yes.”

The trial continues Thursday.