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Masseur arrested in strangling death of NYC club owner Savyon Zabar

Posted: 6:52 PM, Jan 13, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-14 14:13:05-05

NEW YORK — A man was arrested Friday in the murder of former club owner Savyon Zabar, known as "Big Ben."

Daquan King, 23, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, police said. King was a masseur who Zabar employed twice a week and who also had a sexual relationship with him, police sources said.

Savyon Zabar, 54, was found strangled inside his Upper West Side apartment on Jan. 4. Zabar's roommate found the club owner unconscious in his bedroom after King had left, sources told PIX11 News.

King had told the roommate before leaving that he administered a massage and Zabar tried to have sex with him, sources said. The roommate found it odd that King left because he usually stayed over.

Sources said it wasn't immediately clear Zabar's death was suspicious because his weight — 400 pounds — hindered the discovery that he had been strangled. Two days after his body was found his death was ruled a homicide.

Zabar was robbed at gunpoint last April. Two men stole $3,400 from him along with two iPads and a cell phone.

The building's super told PIX11 in April that Zabar is known to have young men in and out of his apartment doing drugs with him.

Zabar's friend, Antonio Baez, launched a GoFundMe to raise money to create banners and souvenirs memorializing "Big Ben."

"His personality was different and tough," Baez wrote. "We learned, he made us tough, we all going to remember him as a good person."