At first, the pimp with the nursing school background tried to resuscitate the “John” as he lay unresponsive on the floor.
But when that failed, Keith “King” Tolbert chopped up the body and tossed it into the nearest river, according to one of two hookers who allegedly took part in the botched robbery and murder of Somerton resident Francis Zarzycki, 40.
Having agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, admitted prostitute Stephanie “Cinderella” Foulke testified in detail about the Aug. 26 slaying during a preliminary hearing for Tolbert and co-defendant Angel “Laid Back” Weston last Wednesday. Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter ordered Tolbert and Weston to stand trial for second-degree murder.
Authorities claim that the killing occurred inside Tolbert’s apartment at 220 S. 11th St.
Foulke, 22, of Secane, Delaware County, testified that she met Tolbert, 34, and Weston, 21, during a party last summer and began turning tricks for Tolbert.
On Aug. 26, Foulke said, Tolbert called her to his apartment to meet a man for sex. Weston, of the 2000 block of E. Monmouth St. in Kensington, also showed up. Tolbert then revealed to the women that Zarzycki, a regular customer, often carried lots of cash and drugs and that they were going to rob him, Foulke said.
When Zarzycki arrived, he seemed under the influence of drugs, according to Foulke.
“He was antsy, had large eyes, pupils dilated,” she said. “He was very jittery.”
After Zarzycki went back outside to get more drugs, he returned to the apartment and sat down at a table with the women. Tolbert was alone in another room. Zarzycki offered drugs to the women, but Weston refused, Foulke said. As they continued talking, Tolbert used the diversion to creep up behind Zarzycki and punch him.
Zarzycki fought back, but ended up face down on the floor with Tolbert sitting on his back and the women attempting to tie him up, Foulke said. As Zarzycki screamed that he couldn’t breathe, Foulke grabbed a stun gun and used it on the victim.
“I wanted him to stop screaming so I was Tasering him,” Foulke said.
Zarzycki then fell silent and “went limp,” she said.
Tolbert administered CPR for about five minutes and used a stethoscope to check for a heartbeat, but could not revive Zarzycki. After about 30 minutes, the women departed, leaving Tolbert alone with the victim.
Foulke testified that Tolbert later told her he had dismembered Zarzycki and tossed his remains in a river. A boater found the victim’s torso floating in the Schuylkill near Reed Street on Sept. 3. The body was wrapped in a plastic trash bag. The victim’s head and limbs were not recovered.
Tolbert allegedly continued operating his prostitution business as Zarzycki’s relatives filed a missing person’s report. The victim’s personal computer and phone records led investigators to the 11th Street apartment. Police conducted a prostitution sting at the apartment on Aug. 31 and arrested Tolbert and Weston there. After Zarzycki’s remains surfaced, authorities upgraded the charges to murder and arrested Foulke in Delaware County on Sept. 4.
Foulke has agreed to testify against her co-defendants and plead guilty to robbery and conspiracy. In exchange, the District Attorney’s Office has agreed to recommend a prison sentence of five to 10 years.
Weston’s defense attorney, Robert Dixon, said that he and his client are also in discussions with the DA about a guilty plea.
If convicted of second-degree murder, Tolbert and Weston would face mandatory life in prison. Second-degree murder is a killing that occurs during the commission of another crime — a robbery in this case.
Tolbert’s defense attorney, Mary Maran, challenged the reliability of Foulke’s testimony. She pointed out several discrepancies in two sworn statements that Foulke gave to police. Foulke acknowledged that she changed parts of her story in her second police interview. She further admitted changing her story again in court.
Initially, both women denied to police that they conspired to rob Zarzycki. But in their later statements to police, they both admitted that the robbery was pre-planned, Maran said.
Foulke, in her first statement to police, said that Zarzycki became angered and grabbed Weston when the woman refused to do drugs with him in the apartment. In court, Foulke admitted, “that part was false.”
Foulke, in her second statement to police, said that Weston gave her $60 that had been taken from the victim’s pockets. But in court, Foulke said she turned down the money because she felt bad about the killing.
Foulke also conceded in court that she decided to cooperate with authorities because “holding back wasn’t going to help me.” ••