Attorneys released new information Monday about the events leading up to the February 2013 murder in Brooke County. Officials said someone tried to set the victim’s house on fire before the murder of Jason Lee Pratz took place at his Wellsburg home.
Michael Nogay, the attorney for defendant Rocco Zuccaro, tried to get two new pieces of evidence added to the case. One, he said, is that someone tried to set Pratz’s home on fire, stating that Pratz himself may have wanted to collect insurance money. He also said the victim received threats while at work from someone.
Two witnesses were called to the stand, including Joseph Mastesic, who said he saw scorch marks on Pratz’s house. “We were walking up the front steps and going into the kitchen, I saw there were scorch marks black up and down that area of the house right there i asked him what happened and he said somebody tried to burn my house down and that was it from there,” he testified.
Mastestic also spoke about how Pratz had mentioned he was receiving threats, but Mastestic said he did not know who was making the threats, or the nature of them.
Deputy Sheriff Tyler Ferguson responded to the possible arson, and said there was minimal damage, and that he did not find any signs of forced entry where the fire allegedly occurred.
A decision was not made Monday on whether the two pieces of evidence would be allowed for use during the trial. Judge Ronald Wilson said he will decide at a later date.
In September, Zuccaro was found competent to stand trial.