Insurance Fraud NEWS
Testimony conflicts for suspect’s locale in deadly Kentucky fire
November 14, 2017, Richmond, KY
The 50-year-old Kentucky man accused of igniting the fire at his uncle's Hamilton home that killed a firefighter first told a detective he was nowhere near the blaze that fateful night in 2015.
Hamilton Detective Paul Webb told jurors that Wiliam "Billy" Tucker told him he was in Richmond, Kentucky when his uncle's Pater Avenue home became engulfed in flames, killing Patrick Wolterman, 28.
That testimony flies in the face of where Tucker's lawyer, Tamara Sacks, told jurors her client was in the night of the fire. Sacks said Tucker was in Hamilton that night, but he was at the home a woman getting pills and was not at his uncle's home.
Tucker is accused of pouring gasoline in the basement of the home and then lighting a match in an insurance-fraud scheme hatched up by his uncle, Lester Parker, 67. Prosecutors have argued that Parker was in "underwater" finacially and conspired with his nephew to commit arson to file a $250,000 insurance claim. For setting the fire, prosecutors argued, Tucker was paid pills.
Both Tucker and Parker have denied the charges, with their lawyers working to poke holes in the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses in the fourth day of the trial, which is set to resume Tuesday morning. Parker and his wife were in Las Vegas celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary the night of the fire.
Wolterman died after his oxygen mask and helmet got knocked off when he fell through the fire-weakened first floor of the home. Wolterman, who both prosecutors and defense lawyers have called a hero, believed the homeowners were trapped inside as heavy smoke poured from the two-story home at 1310 Pater Ave. Dec. 28.
'You lied to him'
Webb first met with Tucker in Madison County, Kentuck after travelling across the river in connection with a search warrant unrelated to this case.
He, along with accompanying Madison County law enforcement officers, approached Tucker in a bar at an address provided to him by Hamilton Detective Matthew Fishwick, who was investigating the arson.
Parker's lawyer David Washington quizzed Webb about his interrogation tactics in his cross examination of the detective. Washington said Webb asked Tucker misleading and deceiving questions about Parker's involvement with law enforcement in order to pry information from him.
"So basically, you lied to him," Washington said.
"I implied some things that maybe weren't true," Webb testified, adding doing so is a common interrogation technique.
Tucker's attorney, Tamara Sacks, also cross examined Webb, asking him if Tucker was under the influence during their bar-room encounter.
Webb said testified that Tucker did not seem at all intoxicated.
How many log cabin dioramas were there?
Prosecutor David Kash also questioned Hamilton Detective Matthew Fishwick for nearly three hours Monday. Kash combed through several photographs and admitting various pieces of evidence, including a log cabin replica that had been in Parker's home.
Fishwick testified that Parker told hm that he had two log cabin dioramas, and that one burned down in the blaze while another was stored safely in the garage.
However, Fishwick testified that he had examined the prized possession, and that the log cabin found in the garage was identical to photographs of the original figure on display in Parker's house, meaning that it had been placed in the garage prior to the start of the fire.
He pointed out the structure's revealing idiosyncrasies directly in front of the jury box.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephens is presiding over the trial, which is expected to conclude this week.
Source: Oxford Patch