LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A Luzerne County man accused in the brutal killing of his neighbor was in court Friday to face murder and other charges.
Walter Zolner III was in court Friday morning for his alleged involvement in the murder of 22-year-old Ryan Walker Padovani.
Zolner, 31, went before a district magistrate Friday where he waved his charges including the charge of criminal homicide to court for a possible trial.
Investigators say it is one of the most brutal murders they have ever seen. Friday Zolner waived the charges including homicide to court. This means he could stand trial later this year. Also in the courtroom, a woman, whose daughter was Ryan Padovani’s roommate. They discovered his body and she says it is something they will never forget.
“We’re very much looking forward to the opportunity to hold him accountable for this horrific crime and we look forward to securing justice for the victim’s family,” stated Tony Ross, Assistant Luzerne County District Attorney.
“This isn’t something that any family would experience and just get past it. It will always be part of our life,” said Angela Gavlick, whose daughter was Padovani’s roommate.
Angela Gavlick says she and her daughter are still coping with what they saw inside 126 East Bennett Street in Kingston on the night of May 5.
The bloody body of Ryan Padovani on his bed in a second-floor bedroom. Her daughter was Padovani’s roommate. Police say 31-year-old Walter Zolner III broke into the home and beat Padlovani to death. Zolner lived on the other half of the double-block home at 124 East Bennett Street.
“The maliciousness of this murder is just indescribable. I just don’t know where that type of hate could possibly come from,” Gavlick added.
Zolner was arrested and charged back in May after Padovani’s body was found dead in the 120 block of East Bennett Street.
According to the Kingston Police Department, on May 5 around 8:00 p.m., officers were called to a double-block home on East Bennett Street in Kingston for a man, later identified as Padovani, who was found dead in a bed with a “gash” to his head.
On May 11 a raid was done at Zonler’s house at 124 East Bennett Street, where drug charges were placed against him and a warrant was issued for this arrest.
On May 12 Wilkes-Barre police were patrolling the area of South Franklin Street when they located Zolner’s silver Subaru parked and unoccupied near the Ousterhout Library. He was arrested inside the library.
As stated in the affidavit, a search warrant was executed on Zolner’s car where police seized an AR 15-style riffle along with body armor, other guns, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition. Investigators stated they also found a crowbar in the car that was consistent with the weapon believed to have been used in the homicide of Padovani.
Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce states the journal found in Zolner’s possession during the arrest contained a written statement where Zolner admitted to killing Padovani.
DA Sanguedolce said Zolner made several posts on social media portraying signs of mental issues where Zolner was seen saying “he was possessed by the devil” and does not believe Zolner had a personal motivation for the murder of Padovani.
“We very much look forward to the opportunity to hold him accountable for this horrific crime and we look forward to securing justice for the victim’s family,” said Luzerne County A.D.A., Tony Ross.
Kingston police stated Zolner had written thoughts inside his journal that portrayed a possible mass casualty attack aimed against law enforcement.
Zolner had nothing to say as he entered or left the courthouse.