Duo charged in fatal fire in court together for the first time

Attorney wants cases severed
Posted at 1:03 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 13:37:54-05

HAMILTON, Ohio -- The two men charged in a 2015 fire that killed a Hamilton firefighter appeared in court together for the first time Monday; the only new development is a set trial start date for late 2017.

Lester Parker, 66, and his nephew, 49-year-old Billy Tucker, are charged with murder and aggravated arson in the death of Patrick Wolterman. The two had separate court hearings until Monday morning.

Patrick Wolterman died Dec. 28, 2015, while attempting to rescue people dispatch believed were trapped in a house fire at 1310 Pater Ave. In reality, no one was inside the home, and Wolterman died of smoke inhalation after falling through the first floor. Butler County Coroner Lisa Mannix later classified Wolterman's death as a homicide.

Parker, the homeowner, claimed to have been out of town with his wife at the time of Wolterman’s death. Tucker, of Richmond, Kentucky, is charged with murder and two counts of aggravated arson for his role in Wolterman's death, according to a news release from the Hamilton Police Department.

Tucker's attorney said Monday that she intents to file a motion to sever the two cases, allowing each accused man his own trial.

Both attorneys asked for a continuance due to the large amount of evidence requested for the trial; both said they would not be ready until late fall.

The trial is set to begin Nov. 6, but that date is subject to change should the cases be severed.