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Army Vet Accused of Murder Had Mental Health Problems, His Brother Says

MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT—An Army veteran with a history of mental health problems and disturbed behavior was arraigned on second-degree murder charges Wednesday after fatally stabbing the manager of his Upper West Side SRO, prosecutors said.

Bernardo Paulino, 34, repeatedly stabbed John Baisley, the manager of a single occupancy facility known as the Camden Hotel on West 95th  Street, after Baisley came to his room to discuss his pending eviction, prosecutors said. He was arraigned via video feed from Bellevue Medical Center.

Cops had to mace and taser Paulino after he refused to drop the bloody knife when officers arrived at the scene on Friday. Baisley, 56, had already escaped Paulino’s room, according to the criminal complaint.

Residents of the building described Baisley as a caring, compassionate man who had turned his life around after surviving drug addiction, incarceration, and infection with HIV, and who had devoted the last 14 years of his life to helping those also in treatment for virus.

Paulino, who residents say had abused drugs and acted violently and erratically in the past, suffers from depression—his lawyer, Ellyn Bank said during his arraignment.

But Paulino’s brother, Edwin Figueroa, 40, told DNAinfo that his brother suffered from more than just depression — "he was hearing voices" and was diagnosed with schizophrenia after leaving the army, Figuero said.

Paulino received an honorable discharge from the army after six years of service and he then served in the National Guard, according to Bank.

"He was never right after he came back home," said Figuero. "I have no idea what he'd seen over there, or what he went through, but that's when he started his medication, that's when he was diagnosed."

Figuero, who said his brother is also suffering from HIV, and hoped for some kind of treatment  and help from counselors at the facility — but that wasn't available at the Camden.

Residents said the hotel is a temporary home for HIV patients in the city, or, for some, a hospice, but a man who answered the phone there insisted it was a privately run hotel.

It's unclear what, if any, healthcare corporation or public agency had oversight of the facility, and what services exactly are provided by Camden Hotel, or who pays for them.

In public records it is registered as a private hotel, and owned by limited liability company. However, residents said they had been referred to the facility by the city's HIV/AIDS Services Administration, and that partial rent payments were covered by city disbursements.

A HASA spokesperson said the agency could not confirm or deny that HIV patients in need of emergency housing were sent to the facility, or say what the facility offered. A New York State Health Department website points to Bronx Lebanon Hospital as running the facility, but the hospital does not in fact operate or own the property, Hospital Administrator James Dunn said.

A city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene spokesman was not immediately sure about who had oversight of the facility, but said he believed all complaints or inspections would be overseen by the state. Calls to the state were not immediately returned.
Paulino is due back in court Aug. 14.