Brooke homicide trial delayed

WELLSBURG – The trial for a Burgettstown man charged with the 2013 shooting death of Jason Lee Pratz of McKinleyville has been continued until July 15.

According to court documents, the case against Rocco Jesse Zuccaro, 28, of Burgettstown, has been continued until court officials can confirm his competency to stand trial.

Michael Nogay, Zuccaro’s attorney, told the court earlier Zuccaro requires medication for a mental condition.

A status hearing for the case has been set for April 8.

Zuccaro has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder filed by the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department in connection with Pratz’s death. Pratz was found dead in his home on Genteel Ridge on Feb. 19, 2013.

Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson has confirmed Zuccaro and Pratz were acquaintances, but he’s not disclosed a motive for the shooting.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III said he won’t comment at length on the case because he doesn’t want to prejudice jurors’ opinions.

Nogay has filed for the appointment of a private investigator to seek evidence of another person being involved in the murder.

Court documents filed by Nogay state a witness observed another person in a vehicle – later identified as Zuccaro’s – near Pratz’s home on Feb. 18. They also state a second bullet, of a different caliber than the one that killed Pratz, was found near his body.

Asked to comment on the possibility another person was involved, Barki said, “We’ve charged the person we believe evidence shows is responsible.”

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