The conviction of one of two men for arson and murder in the 2015 death of Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman has been upheld by an appeals court.
Follow a seven-day trial, Lester Parker, 68, and his nephew William Tucker, 51, of Richmond, Ky., were convicted of the felony charges in November 2017 for the fire at Parker’s Pater Avenue home that killed Wolterman on Dec. 28, 2015.
They are both serving life in prison with parole possibility after 15 years.
Both men denied any involvement in the deadly fire when they took the stand to testify in their own defense, but the prosecution proved the men conspired to set the house ablaze for insurance money. Parker and his wife were vacationing in Los Vegas when Tucker traveled from Kentucky and stared the fire in the home’s basement.
On appeal, Parker argued several errors at trial. He said he was prejudiced when the court failed to sever his case from Tucker’s, the court did not instruct the jury on lesser included offenses and the prosecution committed acts of misconduct during jury selection and closing argument.
The 12th District Court Of Appeals disagreed on all arguments by Parker.
“The court did not plainly err in failing to instruct the jury on lesser included offenses where the proposed offenses were not lesser included offense of the charged offenses and the facts at trial would not have supported a lesser included offense instruction. The defendant was not deprived of a fair trial based on alleged instances of misconduct by the prosecutor throughout the trial,” according to the opinion.
Tucker’s appeal is still pending at the 12th District Court of Appeals.
Parker is currently incarcerated at London Correctional Institution, and Tucker is housed at Belmont Correctional Institution.