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Man arrested in brutal NJ apartment stabbing

March 8, 2012 5:16:12 AM PST
Police investigating the murder of a woman found stabbed inside her home in New Jersey have arrested her neighbor in connection with the crime.

Police say the victim had been arguing with the murder suspect Monday before he allegedly went back into her apartment armed with a knife and stabbed her to death.

Police arrested 49-year old Stephen Baldino and charged him with murder after they say they found evidence that he had tried to cover up the murder by soaking his clothes and shoes in bleach.

The victim, 59-year old Lydja Mitchell, lived in the apartment above Baldino at 103 Page Avenue. It's a building that had neighbors concerned even before the murder.

"The police are here every day, the fire department is here every other day," resident Tixie Bocage said.

Page Street residents say in the last few years, they had grown fearful of walking by the property.

"They usually sit out here and harass people as they go by," area resident Silvana Czerwinski said.

Silvana's backyard faces the building. In the summer, she didn't want her young sons playing outside because she was concerned about what the victim, Lydja Mitchell, might say.

Other neighbors also remember Mitchell as a woman who clearly needed help.

"You don't come out in the winter with flip flops on and walk to the store, and she talked to herself," another neighbor said.

Baldino is remembered as a quiet man, but someone who also appeared to need help.

A local business owner remembers him bringing soiled clothes in for tailoring.

"I told him, I don't want to touch them, you wash them and bring them back," said Helen Jang, with Riverside Cleaners.

Baldino is in jail on $2 million bail.

Neighbors expressed concern about why Mitchell, Baldino and some of the other residents of this apartment building were unsupervised, and they question whether this murder could have been prevented.

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