Second arrest made in death of Hamilton firefighter

6:32 p.m Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 Hamilton
Patrick Wolterman’s death was the Hamilton Fire Department’s first in the line of duty death since 1971.

A second arrest has been made in the arson fire that killed a Hamilton firefighter.

William “Billy” Tucker, 46, was arrested Friday in Richmond, Ky., on an indictment from Butler County for aggravated arson and murder for allegedly starting the fire that killed firefighter Patrick Wolterman in December 2015.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the grand jury heard evidence this week in the case against Tucker, who is the nephew of the owner of the Pater Avenue house, and returned the indictments.

Tucker was taken into custody Friday by Hamilton police detectives.

Hamilton Police Chief Craig Bucheit tweeted Friday evening “So proud of our @HamiltonOhioPD detectives for traveling to Kentucky to make a second arrest in the Firefighter Patrick Wolterman case!”

William "Billy" Tucker was arrested Jan. 6. He allegedly started the fire that killed a Hamilton firefighter in December 2015.

Tucker will have an extradition hearing next week.

Bucheit could not be reached for comment, but recorded a message via Facebook commending the investigators.

“(They) delivered today and throughout this past year on a pledge I made after Patrick’s death to pursue every lead …” Bucheit said.

Fire Chief Steve Dawson also praised Hamilton detectives, the prosecutor’s office and all those involved in the investigation for their work.

“This again, is a day we have all be waiting for,” he said. “Our hearts are with the Wolterman family. It is going to be a grueling legal process.”

Gmoser said the work of Hamilton detectives was “exemplary” in getting the evidence needed for an indictment.

Last month, Lester Parker, 66, was indicted on the same crimes. Parker is being held in the Warren County Jail on a $500,000 bond. 

Bucheit said on the day of Parker’s arrest that he believed more people would be arrested in connection with the deadly crime.

The murder charge carries a prison term of 15 years to life and a $15,000 fine. The aggravated arson charge carries a maximum prison term of 11 years and a $20,000 fine, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Wolterman fell through the first floor of Parker’s Pater Avenue home while fighting a fire that was later ruled an arson. Wolterman died from injuries he sustained battling the Dec. 28, 2015, blaze.

Parker and his wife, Bertha, submitted insurance claims for the burned home to Cincinnati Insurance Company of Fairfield, but declined to cooperate with the process when the company notified the couple that it was “exercising its right under the policy to conduct an examination under oath,” according to court documents obtained by the Journal-News.

In July, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh signed a judgment in favor of Cincinnati Insurance Company, relieving it from paying out any coverage or indemnity to the Parkers for the house at 1310 Pater Ave.

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