Experts testify about ‘burner’ phones, Facebook messages in Hamilton arson trial

The trial of two men charged with arson and murder in the 2015 death of Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman continued today with local and state investigators testifying about cell phone and social media messages.

William “Billy” Tucker, 46, of Richmond, Ky., and his uncle Lester Parker, 67, are charged with arson and murder in the fire at Parker’s Pater Avenue home that killed Wolterman on Dec. 28, 2015.

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Prosecutors say Parker was “under water” financially in the fall of 2015 and hatched a plan to set the house on fire for insurance money. Tucker agreed to light the fire in exchange for pain pills, according to prosecutors.

Parker and his wife, Bertha, left Hamilton on the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2015, and were in Las Vegas when fire consumed the residence at 1310 Pater Avenue during the early morning hours of Dec. 28.

Jennifer Dillion, an investigator with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified about phone numbers she analyzed to determine what towers the calls originated from as well as Facebook messages between Tucker and former girlfriends.

The data indicated Parker used a cell phone he owned from the Hamilton area on Dec. 28, 2015, as well as the Cincinnati area to call a phone in Kentucky belonging to Stacy Tucker.

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There were also calls placed after the fire from a pre-paid “burner” phone with a Las Vegas number to a pay phone in Hamilton, located across the street from the Cove Motel. Prosecutors say Tucker stayed at the Cove Motel with girlfriend Kim Brooks after starting the fire.

Prosecutors again pointed to messages from Tucker’s Facebook account to Brooks days before the fire stating.

“I will have plenty of pain pills after Monday, well Sunday … need to get there Sunday,” one of the messages read.

Dillion also noted a Facebook message from Linda Rose, a former girlfriend of Tucker’s, that was sent in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 2015. The message from Tucker to Rose said: “Babydoll. Done with the job. Got to get some rest and call you tomorrow.”

Parker’s attorney, David Washington, pointed out during cross examination of Dillion that she could not determine what was said in the phone conversations.

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During cross examination earlier this week of Detective Matt Fishwick, Tucker’s attorney Tamara Sack questioned a longitude and latitude Google report he prepared of Courtney Basinger’s phone.

Prosecutors say Basinger, along with Brooks, drove to Richmond, Ky., to pick up Tucker then drove to Grand Boulevard and waited while he set the fire.

Sack pointed out the report says Basinger’s car was stationary on Grand Boulevard from 12:41 until 12:52 a.m. when it was driving away. The ADT alarm that brought Hamilton police to the 1310 Pater Avenue home did not sound until 12:56 a.m.

Officers found smoke coming from the house and the cellar doors open when they arrived.

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The prosecution rested its case this afternoon.

Brooks is expected to be called as a defense witness and Tucker is expected to take the stand in his own defense.

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