ARREST IN W. 71ST HOMICIDE

Written by admin on . Posted in News West Side Spirit.


Frederick Zappulla, 51, the roommate of a man who was found stabbed to death earlier Saturday at 145 W. 71st St., was arrested and charged with murder 2, according to cops.

Police identified the 63-year-old victim as Walter Walker.

Zappulla was Walker’s romantic partner, according to interviews with residents of the West 71st Street building. The two had lived in Walker’s one-bedroom apartment for more than a year.

The young families that live in the building knew little of Walker or his relationship with Zappulla. Neighbors said that Walker was quiet and never socialized with residents.

But one woman who lives on the first floor knew Walker for at least 20 years.

She said Walker had a love of the retro. He was an amateur fashion designer and sketcher who dressed in vintage clothing, had an encyclopedic knowledge of classic films and loved Cole Porter. Once a year, Walker would perform in a cabaret act at Danny’s Skylight Room, on West 46th Street.

“He had style and flare,” said the friend, who did not want to be identified. “But not a great social life.”

To make ends meet, Walker worked as a cleaner, with clients on Tribeca and Chelsea. He would drag his vacuum cleaner from job to job in a black suitcase with wheels.

Zappulla’s motivations were still unknown to Walker’s shocked neighbors.

A 911 call at 12:30 p.m. on June 6 first reported the stabbing in apartment 6A. Building residents were initially prohibited from using the elevators and were restricted to stairs, and occupants of nearby buildings were told to stay inside. The SWAT team was also sent in to assist with the investigation.

Walker was pronounced dead on the scene.

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  • Michael Scully

    Is there a photo of the victim of the homicide on Saturday on west 71st St? I live across the street and would like to know in more than name what my neighbor looked liked.

    Thank you.

    Michael Scully

  • richard kind

    Michael Scully–

    Facebook him, you jerk!

  • Sarah

    I knew the victim for many years and I am shocked and saddened by what has happened. He was a, odd, lonely man who opened his home to a string of “roommates” over the years. I lived in the building for several years some years back and had known Walter before that as well. I Googled the story when I heard a murder had occured in my old building and was horrified to learn it was Walter. You wouldn’t find him on Facebook, he was from another era- probably did not even have a computer. You might have seen him around the neighborhood pulling his black rolling case of cleaning supplies around. When he did his cabaret show he would pass flyers around to neighbors he knew. I doubt anything would be on the internet, but he did have “headshots” so perhaps one of the papers will get a hold of one.

  • Mark Perlin

    My wife and I knew Walter many years ago. He was a decent person and this is a horrible tragic. No one should make fun of this. No one deserves to die this way. Please have a little decency. Remember this could be your family member.

  • Stephen Moscatello

    This is trully tragic ,I know Fred Zappulla and he is a drug addict with mental problems .This poor man whom befreinded him is dead but freds has a family too who are also suffering .Hopefully people see what can happen when you use drugs .This is addiction and in addiction there are three things that are certain ,,,jails institutions and death

  • Mel Pinto

    I just found out today about the death of Walter Walker. I am shocked and terribly saddened as I knew Walter for decades. I was a client of his cleaning service for many years. He was a very honorable and decent person. He had a passion for old movies and entertainers from the 30′s and 40′s and his knowledge in these areas seemed limitless. I attended several caberet shows where he performed in a white tux with a piano accompanyist and brought to life the era that he loved so much. I was pleased to see that one headline to an article about his passing referred to him as a singer. I think that would have pleased him. At the same time, he made ends meet as an able, professional and totally trustworthy apartment cleaner. Walter was a gentle soul; one of the unique characters who contribute to the richness of New York City. He lived modestly but with a full inner life.

    This was not his time to go and he did not deserve such a cruel death. I deeply grieve for him.

  • Nancy Gerstman

    I’ve been very moved by the comments posted here following the dreadful and sad death of Walter Walker, someone I knew for 25 years. I agree that it would have pleased him to be referred to as a singer, and one of my fondest memories of Walter was a personal ‘performance’ he did for me–with songs originally sung by Bing Crosby, Alice Faye and Bea Lillie but given a very special ‘touch’ by Walter–when I was home-bound after an accident (while he was cleaning the apartment by the way!).   He was irascible at times but he was at heart a very generous person and the way he died was cruel beyond belief. I would like to ask anyone who knew Walter and knows if and where his family (I think his sister) had a funeral or a memorial to contact me at nancy@zeitgeistfilms.com

    Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear about Walter! I did, indeed, use him numerous times. The ones that stand out were when I got him to clean John’s apartment during one of his hospitalizations and when I got him to help me clean my place after my renovation. A very quirky character, to be sure, but quite endearing. I even thought of him when we were at your place, wondering if you still used him to clean. What a terrible way to have that question answered. I know how fond of him you were. I’m so so sorry to hear you have lost him. I hope you have been able to connect with others who feel the loss like you. Funny how people can lead such isolated lives in such a crowded city. 

  • Rob Case

    I was Walter’s roommate a few years ago. He was a nice man who kept to himself. Thank you for all of the lovely comments you have posted. I know Walter would appreciate your kind thoughts.

  • Rob Case

    Zappulla’s trial is 9/8 at 100 Centre Street, part 52 (you have to go to room 1000 on the 10th floor to get the information about where part 52 is). I am out of town and can’t come until 9/27. I am asking everyone to show up for the trial or at least the sentencing phase so we can put a face with the name of the victim, our friend and acquaintance.

    I will write a letter to the sentencing judge requesting Zappulla receive as much time as possibe. Please update this site or contact me at robcase96@hotmail.com if you have any further information.

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