Associated Press Published

W.Va. Top Court Upholds Murder Conviction


West Virginia’s highest court has rejected the appeal of a Pennsylvania man convicted of murdering a West Virginia man and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Supreme Court says the trial judge correctly denied the attempt by Rocco Zuccaro, of Burgettstown, to raise allegations that 30-year-old Jason Pratz sold guns and drugs, exposing him to unknown dangerous people who killed him.

Chief Justice Allen Loughry writes that Zuccaro offered no evidence supporting those allegations.

The top court also rejected his claims of insufficient evidence convict him and prejudice by not getting his trial moved from Brooke County.

Zuccaro was convicted of first-degree murder in the February 2013 killing at Pratz’s home in McKinleyville.

Zuccaro escaped in 2015 briefly from a Weston hospital, where he underwent a psychiatric evaluation.