Three charged in murder of Somerton man

Two pros­ti­tutes and their al­leged pimp have been charged in the slay­ing of Fran­cis Za­r­zyeki. The vic­tim’s dis­membered torso was found in the Schuylkill River.   

  • Stephanie Foulke

  • Angel Weston

  • Keith Tolbert

A Somer­ton man’s ren­dez­vous with a couple of young pros­ti­tutes on Aug. 26 ended with a botched rob­bery, fol­lowed by his suf­foc­a­tion and dis­mem­ber­ment, say Phil­adelphia po­lice, who have charged both wo­men and their al­leged pimp in con­nec­tion with the grue­some slay­ing.

Fran­cis Za­r­zyeki, 40, of the 15000 block of En­dicott St., had seem­ingly dis­ap­peared un­til Sept. 3 when a boat­er found his torso wrapped in a trash bag and float­ing in the Schuylkill River near Reed Street in the Grays Ferry sec­tion of South Philly. Za­r­zyeki’s head, arms and legs were miss­ing and have yet to be found.

“We know what was a planned rob­bery es­cal­ated to murder by suf­foc­a­tion and ended with his body be­ing chopped up, bagged up and thrown in­to the river,” said po­lice Capt. James Clark, the hom­icide unit com­mand­er, dur­ing a Sept. 5 news con­fer­ence.

In­vest­ig­at­ors be­lieve the killing oc­curred in an apart­ment at 220 S. 11th St. and that the vic­tim had gone there to meet two pros­ti­tutes, who re­portedly used the names “An­gel” and “Cinder­ella.”

Po­lice iden­ti­fied the wo­men as An­gel We­st­on, 21, of the 2000 block of E. Mon­mouth St. in Kens­ing­ton, and Stephanie Foulke, 22, of the 900 block of South Ave. in Sec­ane, Delaware County. Both have been charged with murder as has their al­leged hand­ler, Keith Tol­bert, 34, who lived in the 11th Street apart­ment.

Clark de­scribed a scen­ario in which the vic­tim ar­rived at the apart­ment and en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion with the wo­men when Tol­bert at­tacked him with a Taser-type weapon. Za­r­zyeki, who re­portedly lived with his par­ents and was the son of a re­tired po­lice of­ficer, ap­par­ently fought back. The wo­men helped Tol­bert sub­due the vic­tim with rope and duct tape as Tol­bert used his body weight to pin and suf­foc­ate Za­r­zyeki.

Tol­bert al­legedly dragged the vic­tim’s body in­to a bath­room, where he re­moved his limbs with an ax or hatchet, po­lice said. Po­lice con­tin­ue to in­vest­ig­ate how the vic­tim’s re­mains were trans­por­ted to the river and what happened to his head and limbs.

After Za­r­zyeki failed to re­turn home, re­l­at­ives filed a miss­ing per­son re­port with North­east De­tect­ives on Aug. 28 and found com­puter and tele­phone re­cords that linked the vic­tim to the South 11th Street ad­dress.

The po­lice de­part­ment’s City­wide Vice Unit con­duc­ted a sting at the apart­ment on Aug. 31 and ar­res­ted Tol­bert and We­st­on on pros­ti­tu­tion charges that day. Both were still in cus­tody when the boat­er found Za­r­zyeki’s torso on Sept. 3. Po­lice ar­res­ted Foulke in Glen­olden one day later. Both wo­men re­portedly de­tailed the slay­ing to hom­icide de­tect­ives.

The de­fend­ants are sched­uled for a Sept. 25 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing. ••

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