Murder trial begins Monday in Hamilton firefighter's arson death

Lester Parker during a recent court appearance (FOX19 NOW)
Lester Parker during a recent court appearance (FOX19 NOW)
William Tucker (Provided by Hamilton police)
William Tucker (Provided by Hamilton police)

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday for two men accused of killing a Hamilton firefighter nearly two years ago.

Lester Parker, 66, of Hamilton and his nephew, William Tucker, 49, of Richmond, Kentucky, face 15 years to life in prison if they are convicted on the murder charge and a maximum of 11 years on one count of aggravated arson.

Investigators say they linked them to the Dec. 28, 2015 blaze that resulted in the death of Patrick Wolterman, 28, when he fell through the first floor into the basement of Parker's Pater Avenue home.

Prosecutors accuse Parker of soliciting his nephew to set the blaze.

A tripped burglar alarm first led police to the home. Fire crews were called shortly after for heavy smoke exiting three sides of the structure.

"Patrick breached the front door and entered the burning structure, never questioning that he was serving the citizens, that he was making a difference," said Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Dawson during his emotional funeral service.

Several days after the fire, authorities ruled arson as the cause and announced a task force devoted to finding the suspected arsonist.

Both Parker and Tucker have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys asked Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Stephens to move the trial due to pretrial publicity, but the judge said he wants to try to seat a jury Monday.

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