Pa. man arrested in Brooke homicide

WELLSBURG – A special session of the Brooke County Grand Jury will be called to consider a case against a Burgettstown man linked to the shooting death of Jason Lee Pratz in McKinleyville in February.

Rocco Zuccaro, 28, of Burgettstown was arrested Wednesday on a fugitive from justice warrant charging him with first-degree murder. He is being held at the Washington County Jail, where he awaits a hearing to determine his extradition to West Virginia.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joseph Barki III said Zuccaro, who was arrested without incident, has been considered a suspect for several weeks and the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department was working with law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania.

Barki and Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said they couldn’t offer many details because a special grand jury session will be called to consider probable cause within the next few weeks.

Jackson declined to comment on a motive but said Zuccaro and Pratz “were acquaintances. They did know each other.”

Pratz, who was 30, was found dead at his home on Genteel Ridge on Feb. 19.

Barki said he couldn’t comment on the weapon or any evidence collected during the investigation.

Jackson expressed appreciation to Pratz’ family, saying they were very patient during the investigation. He said his department took time with the investigation because he didn’t want to risk losing evidence.

He and Barki said the investigation was conducted by Sgt. Darin Hanna and Deputy Micah Knisley, both of the Brooke County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Smith Township Police, U.S. Marshal’s Service and Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

Barki said it’s unusual for a special grand jury session to be called but it’s necessary “to move the case forward” because the next regular grand jury session won’t be held until June.

He said as with other Brooke County grand jury sessions, it will be presided over by Circuit Court Judge Ronald Wilson.