Social media messages presented in Hamilton firefighter death trial

Cell phone records and social media are front and center today as the prosecution lays out evidence in the trial of two men charged with arson and murder in the 2015 death of Hamilton firefighter Patrick Wolterman.

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.

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.

MORE: Daughter told police family may have been part of fatal Hamilton arson

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.

Hamilton Police Sgt. Matt Fishwick took the stand Monday and testified about evidence he found in a home the Parkers occupied after the fire. That home was just a few doors down from 1310 Pater Ave.

Fishwick said pictures of 1310 Pater Ave. taken by Parker before the Las Vegas trip show a handmade log cabin, a butler statue and photos of the Parkers’ daughters in the living room. A year later, the same items were found at 1304 Pater, where the Parkers were living, Fishwick said.

Last week, the Parkers’ younger daughter Cheryl Sullivan said she noticed items — including the pictures — missing from her parent’s house when she picked them up to take them to the airport on Dec. 27, 2015. She testified her father later told her the items had been in the garage.

MORE: Daughter of man on trial in Hamilton firefighter death testifies about missing items

In the days leading up to the fire, Fishwick testified that Parker called Tucker’s brother, Stacy Parker’s, cell phone several times and had a 30-minute conversation on one occasion. Fishwick said through his investigation he learned Tucker often did not have his own cell phone and used other peoples’ phones.

Parker also called Stacy Tucker in the hours after the fire, according to records. During his testimony, Stacy Tucker confirmed he received calls from Parker stating he was looking for Tucker the day of the fire.

On Dec. 30, 2015, a pre-paid cell phone with a Las Vegas number called the pay phone across the street from the Cove Motel in Hamilton. That is where Tucker was staying with his girlfriend Kim Brooks, according to Fishwick.

The prosecution is now highlighting Facebook messages between accounts registered to Tucker, Brooks and Tucker’s former girlfriend, Linda Rose.

MORE: Woman tells jury she gave ride to Hamilton arson suspect for $300 in pills

In one message to Brooks, Tucker says he needs a ride to Hamilton on Dec. 27: “I have something very important to take care of.”

There is also discussion about payment for the ride with pills. Fishwick said Parker had prescriptions for both Valium and opioids.

Tucker’s defense attorney, Tamara Sack, indicated in previous court filings that her client has an alibi. Brooks is also listed as a witness by the defense.

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