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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