Arrest in New Year’s Eve Bedford shooting

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Police on Mon., April 22, announced an arrest in last December’s killing of a Village resident inside his Bedford St. home.

Police said Clinton R. Martin, 45, of Jersey City, N.J., was arrested and charged with murder, robbery and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the slaying.

On Sun., Dec. 31, around 5 p.m., police responded to a 911 call of a person shot at 110 Bedford St., just south of Christopher St. They found Johnathan Berlin, 62, in Apartment 5A, with a gunshot wound to the torso. The victim was transported by E.M.S. ambulance to Lenox Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

At the time, Gothamist reported that the victim’s wife was in the apartment at the time of the shooting, and that drug paraphernalia, including scales and pot, also were found at the scene. The couple occupied two units, 4A  and 5A, that were on the same line; it wasn’t immediately clear if the two apartments were connected internally.

Police at the crime scene at 110 Bedford St. last Dec. 31 after a 62-year-old man was shot in his apartment there. (Photo by Tequila Minsky)

Back then, a source told a reporter for this paper that Berlin had lived there more than 20 years and was Israeli born, but, in fact, he was born and raised in the Detroit area.

This Tuesday, a police spokesperson was still unable to provide much additional information to flesh out the picture.

“The narrative has remained the same,” he said.

He confirmed that Berlin’s wife was at home with him at the time of the shooting and that drug paraphernalia was found in the place.

“We believe at [this] time that this was some kind of drug transaction that went horribly wrong,” the spokesperson said. “This was someone who probably knew his assailant. But it’s still under investigation.”

The police spokesperson said it’s believed things were stolen during the incident, though exactly what was taken is still under investigation. Asked what led to the arrest, he declined to offer specifics, just saying, “good police work.”

According to police sources at the scene after the murder, a lot of images of the suspect — showing him carrying off a large bag with unknown contents — were captured by street cameras.

In a collaboration between New York and New Jersey law enforcement, the suspect was arrested in Jersey and brought by law enforcement to Manhattan, where he was being held Tuesday. According to a police source, the suspect was arrested around a month ago, but then “lawyered up,” so it took a little while to extradite him.

The homicide, on last year’s last day, was the only one in Greenwich Village’s Sixth Precinct in 2018.

A source, requesting anonymity, said of Berlin, “He was a wonderful, good, kind man and this is a huge loss.”

With reporting by Tequila Minsky

Correction: The original version of this article misidentified the man arrested for Berlin’s murder as Martin R. Clinton. His name is Clinton R. Martin.