Police: ‘Off-color’ comment to young girl may be motive behind beating death

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Police are investigating after a man was found beaten to death in Providence.

According to Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin, 34-year-old Jonathan Zapata was found at about 5 p.m. Wednesday behind 268 Hartford Avenue.

“As we saw it, all the injuries occurred with the use of hands and not a weapon,” Lapatin said at a news conference Thursday. Police found Zapata badly beaten in the face.

“The victim may have said something off-color to the suspect’s daughter,” he continued. “She’s young. Probably under 10.”

DeShawn Anderson, 33, was arrested and arraigned on Thursday on a felony assault charge. Bail was set at $200,000 by the judge, $100,000 over what prosecutors were asking.

Police said the assault charge could be upgraded based on the report from the state medical examiner, who’s working to determine the exact cause of Zapata’s death.

This is the city’s 9th homicide this year.