A double murder in the exclusive South Street neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in early 1997, was a complex one to solve right from the beginning. The authorities didn’t have a lot of evidence, and the case eventually hit a wall. But Patricia and Richard Zimmerman’s killer was finally brought to justice decades later, thanks to a tip. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide City: Society Hill Slaying’ delves into the circumstances surrounding the loving couple’s death and the shocking revelation of the killer’s identity. Let’s dive in and learn about the case in detail, shall we?
How Did Patricia and Richard Zimmerman Die?
As per the show, Patricia was rebellious while growing up and ran away from home when she was just 15 or 16 years of age. Eventually, she met Richard, and they fell in love. Richard was in the jewelry business, and soon, Patricia began helping him with it. The couple began a life together and had two children — Matthew and Michelle. Patricia and Richard lived in a townhouse on South Street and ran their business out of their heavily secured home.
When the Zimmermans failed to show up for a family party that Michelle invited them to, she began to get worried. After not getting ahold of her parents via phone calls, Michelle asked for a welfare check. Upon reaching their residence, the authorities found 43-year-old Patricia and 54-year-old Richard murdered in their dining room on February 4, 1997. Both had been shot once in the back of the head execution-style with a .45-caliber weapon.
Who Killed Patricia and Richard Zimmerman?
There was no sign of forced entry at the Zimmerman residence. Furthermore, their home was secured and whoever came had to be buzzed in by them, leading to the belief that the two knew the killer. The couple had become security conscious after a 1994 attack during which Richard was shot and Patricia was abducted. Another puzzling detail was that nothing appeared to be missing; diamonds and other valuables were still present in the house when the police arrived.
The authorities then learned that Patricia and Richard’s son Matthew had been estranged from his parents, leading to an interview with him. As per the show, Matthew claimed to have been in Kensington, Pennsylvania, helping his friend move into a new home around the time of the murders. However, the investigation revealed that Matthew didn’t show up to help out his friend. Back then, there was no other evidence that pointed toward him.
The case eventually went cold until the authorities looked at it again in 1999. According to the show, it seemed that Matthew had benefitted from his parents’ death. He bought a home and had been flashing jewelry and money around. The police also learned from Matthew’s friends that he asked them to provide an alibi for him for the weekend before his parents were found dead. Furthermore, Matthew was also seen with a .45-caliber pistol.
Then, in 2002, a tip from a drug dealer moved things forward in the investigation. According to the show, Carmen Monica told the police that Matthew wanted to hire him to have his parents killed. Carmen claimed that Matthew asked him several times to be the triggerman, promising to pay him from the inheritance. However, Carmen refused at the time. Once Matthew was confronted with this information, he admitted to the murders, saying, “You’re right. I did kill them.”
Where is Matthew Zimmerman Now?
At the time of Matthew Zimmerman’s arrest in 2003, he was already in federal prison on drug and assault charges. In March 2007, then 34-years-old, he was convicted of murdering his parents — Patricia and Richard Zimmerman. The prosecution stated that the motive was the inheritance worth around $1 million and said there was a history of Matthew hating his mother and stealing from his father.
Michelle, who believed in her brother’s innocence, testified that he received only $65,000 as part of the inheritance. As per the show, Matthew Zimmerman was handed down a life sentence for the murders. Prison records indicate that Matthew remains incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution – Pine Grove in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
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