Fugitive wanted for W.Va. homicide arrested in Smith Township

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A man wanted on first-degree murder charges in West Virginia was arrested Thursday morning during a traffic stop near his Smith Township home.


Authorities from several agencies arrested Rocco Zuccaro, 28, about 9:30 a.m. along Bavington Road and implicated him in the killing of a man in Brooke County in February.


Zuccaro, 28, of 33 Harmon Creek Road, Burgettstown, was later arraigned before District Judge Robert Redlinger and taken to the Washington County jail without bond to await extradition by West Virginia authorities.


The Brooke County Sheriff’s Department has been searching for a suspect since the killing of 30-year-old Jason Pratz at a McKinleyville home Feb. 18. Pratz apparently was shot to death in the home just outside Wellsburg, and his body was found the following day. Investigators did not release a motive in the slaying or say how the two men may have known each other.


Smith Township police Chief Bernie LaRue said authorities in both states had interviewed Zuccaro on several occasions over the past two months. He said police showed up at Zuccaro’s home Thursday morning to bring him into custody, but he was at work at a McDonald’s in Imperial. Zuccaro’s father drove to the restaurant and brought him back to authorities, LaRue said.


Smith Township police officers, U.S. marshals, and sheriff’s deputies from Washington and Brooke counties worked together during the arrest. LaRue said Zuccaro was taken into custody without incident.


It is not know when West Virginia authorities will seek to bring him back to Brooke County.


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