Six-year-old murder solved

Police have charged a 30-year-old man with the execution-style slayings of his parents, both South Street jewelers.

At a press conference Friday, officials announced an arrest in the six-year-old murder of Richard and Patricia Zimmerman, who owned a jewelry store on South Street. The accused killer is none other than the couple’s 30-year-old son — currently serving time in federal prison on unrelated charges, said Capt. Charles Bloom of the Homicide Division.

Third District police discovered the bodies of Richard, 53, and Patricia, 47, inside their home above Zimmerman Jewelers at 112 South St. on Feb. 4, 1997, said the captain.

Both had been shot once execution-style, in the back of the head, Bloom said. A .45-caliber weapon was used in the slayings, the captain added.

Matthew Zimmerman was arrested Friday at McKean Federal Correctional Institution in Bradford, where he was serving time for a drug and aggravated assault charge, Bloom said.

Police charged him with two counts of murder, the captain added. Zimmerman’s preliminary hearing had been scheduled for yesterday, but his attorney requested a continuance until Nov. 5.

Investigators recovered evidence at the time of the incident, but the case remained unsolved until the Cold Case File unit picked it up, Bloom said. Acting on a recent tip, homicide detectives Tim Bass and Steve Buckley cracked the case. Bloom declined to say what the tip was or cite a motive because the investigation is ongoing.

"Things were missing but we don’t believe the sole intent was robbery," the captain added.

Bloom said authorities are also trying to determine if other people were involved.

To report information, call the Homicide Division at 215-686-3334/35.

Python surprises resident

First District officers had to hold down a 13-foot snake with a broom Monday evening until Animal Control workers arrived to take it out of a man’s home.

The 73-year-old resident called police after seeing the Burmese python slither up a staircase in his multi-family dwelling.

Officers estimated the black, brown and tan snake’s weight to be 110-120 pounds, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detective Division. Burmese pythons are non-venomous, instead crushing their prey to death.

The resident told police he first saw the snake Sept. 17, but it had disappeared into the walls and ceiling of the building on the 2200 block of South 15th Street, Biello said. At that time, three families were living in the dwelling; two families had moved out by the time the man spotted the snake again, the sergeant said.

Investigators don’t know who brought the reptile into the home.

To report information, call South Detectives at 215-686-3013.

Shot with paintball gun

Police say they don’t know what prompted a man to shoot a female acquaintance multiple times with a paintball gun — causing cuts to her face, chest, arms and legs.

The incident happened Saturday around 2:30 p.m. on the 1200 block of Webster Street, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives.

Medic 35 rushed the 36-year-old victim to Pennsylvania Hospital, where she was listed in good condition. A detective assigned to the case said the woman, a South Philly resident, was badly lacerated.

Car halted by bullet

A driver was fortunate to escape flying bullets last week, but his vehicle wasn’t so lucky, officials said.

The 24-year-old victim told police he heard gunshots shortly after 9 p.m. Sept. 15 as he drove down the 2300 block of Mifflin Street, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives. Next thing he knew, his 1999 Dodge Intrepid started smoking.

When the victim stopped the car, he noticed a bullet hole in the front bumper had penetrated his radiator, the sergeant said.

Investigators recovered shell casings in the area.

Driver faces murder charge

The 27-year-old man police say was responsible for a deadly car wreck on Columbus Boulevard in July was ordered to stand trial on all charges except one, officials said.

A judge ordered Damen Robinson, of the 2000 block of South Eighth Street, to stand trial for third-degree murder, driving without a license and related offenses, said Assistant District Attorney Richard Sax.

A homicide by vehicle DUI charge was thrown out because toxicology reports came back negative for alcohol, the prosecutor said. Sax added that the third-degree murder charge is far more serious.

The July 28 crash at Reed Street and Columbus Boulevard killed Shawn Burrows, 27, of Mount Airy. She was pronounced dead at the scene; Robinson was not injured.

"This was a fellow going 100 miles an hour, blowing red light after red light down Columbus Boulevard — driving just as reckless as could be," Sax told the Review.

The suspect remains in jail on $250,000 bail. He faces arraignment early next month.

Isabel hits victim hard

There was no escaping Hurricane Isabel’s wrath for a 58-year-old local man, who was knocked unconscious by a falling sign outside a restaurant last Thursday.

The victim, from the 1800 block of Gladstone Street, was treated and released from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, said Sgt. Steve Biello of South Detectives.

The man was walking past Back in the Day Caf� at 19th and Ritner streets when a 3-by-8-foot sign fell two stories — striking him in the head, the sergeant said.