Argument between neighbors turns deadly; suspect in custody

By Anthony J. Machcinski


An argument in the morning hours of Monday, March 5, led to the death of one woman and the subsequent arrest of a neighbor charged with the killing on Tuesday, March 6.

Lydja Mitchell, 59, who lived in Apt. 3 of an apartment complex at 103 Page Ave. in Lyndhurst allegedly quarreled with 49-year-old Stephen Baldino, a resident of Apt. 2 in the same complex. The argument is believed to have occurred in the victim’s apartment, but it is unclear as to why Baldino was allegedly in the apartment in the first place.

After the argument, it is alleged that Baldino brought a knife with him into the victim’s apartment where he stabbed her to death. Lyndhurst Police recovered the knife from the apartment.

Lyndhurst Police responded to the Page Ave. location around 5 p.m. after a concerned resident of the complex had asked for a welfare check of Mitchell, who had not been seen that day and had not answered repeated knocks on Mitchell’s door.

Police entered the apartment with help from the landlord and found Mitchell’s body on the floor, with what appeared to be several stab wounds.

According to a press release from Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, a search warrant was executed on Baldino’s apartment that resulted in the seizure of numerous items of evidence that, authorities say, linked Baldino to the crime.

Investigators alleged that, based on their discovery of clothing and footwear soaked in bleach in the suspect’s apartment, they believed that Baldino had been taking significant steps in an effort to conceal his involvement in the crime.

Baldino was arrested on March 6 and charged with murder of the first degree; a second degree charge of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose; and a third degree charge, hindering apprehension.

Baldino’s bail was set at $2 million with no 10% cash option and he is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail, Hackensack.

Baldino is currently unemployed and had been an acquaintance of Mitchell’s since living in the same building together for the past year; however, there isn’t any information listed as to a relationship between the two being more than friends.

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