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A mob associate accused of strangling a woman to death and stuffing her body in a captain’s bed at Sheepshead Bay’s Golden Gate Inn was convicted of murder Tuesday – 10 years after the gruesome crime took place.
Prosecutors said that murderer Guy Zappulla, 42, managed to escape his first conviction for the slaying of Jennifer Scarpati on a technicality at appeal, but he couldn’t worm his way out of a second trial, which began on June 9.
On Tuesday, officials at the Kings County District Attorney’s office announced that Zappulla was convicted of the 1998 slaying, and is facing 25 years to life at his sentencing, which is scheduled for July 14.
Back in March 1998, Zappulla believed that Scarpati had stolen jewelry from him as the two flopped at the Golden Gate on Knapp Street, officials said.
Prosecutors said he strangled the 28-year-old woman with her own underwear and then stuffed her body under their bed.
Cops took Zappulla into custody on charges that he had stolen a fur coat belonging to another girlfriend.
After being taken to a precinct and read his rights, Zappulla never admitted to killing Scarpati, but did discuss other crimes, officials said.
As they searched for more evidence, investigators went to his hotel room, where they found Scarpati’s body.
At the same time, Zappulla managed to escape police custody, only to be struck by a car and taken to the hospital as he fled.
When cops questioned him a second time, he reportedly admitted to killing Scarpati.
Zappulla was convicted of killing Scarpati back in 1999, but his conviction was thrown out on appeal after his attorney discovered that detectives never re-read his Miranda rights once he was taken back into custody after his escape.
Since his Miranda rights weren’t given a second time – although he was told he could have a lawyer if he wanted — his confession was thrown out.
While the appeal’s court found that the police made a simple mistake, it was an error grave enough to suspend the conviction.
But, instead of dismissing the charges, the appeals court granted a new trial.
“We were not allowed to use his confession the second time, but he was convicted anyway,” a spokesperson from the Kings County District Attorney’s office said Tuesday.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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