MONROE-state police say Jason D. Bardsley went to Robert M. Binenfeld's town of Monroe home on Dec. 21 to look at one of the cars the 65-year-old former doctor had for sale on his property. The car was reportedly an Acura, age, color and mileage unknown. The two men talked. Then they went inside the house at 46 Woodland Road. Words, and then shouts, were exchanged. Then it got physical. And then, Bardsley, police said, left. Four days later n at about 2 p.m. on Christmas Day n Binenfeld's body was found by a relative who stopped by to check on him. A week later, at about 5 p.m. on Dec. 27, Warwick Police Officer Patrick Cunningham pulled Bardsley's maroon 1994 Oldsmobile Bravado to the side of Jersey Avenue in Warwick for doing 67 mph in a 40 mph zone. And seven hours later, at about 2 a.m. on Dec. 28, Bardsley, 26, stood accused of second-degree murder. There are some things police and Assistant District Attorney John Geidel aren't talking about at the moment, like how Binenfeld died, how the former doctor's body was clothed when it was found or what the altercation was about, including whether there were any sexual overtones in the alleged murder. What State Police Capt. Wayne Olson did say was that several of Binenfeld's credit cards had been stolen and that police were able to track the purchases that were made in southern Orange County and northern New Jersey. The credit card purchases in businesses in Monroe and elsewhere also provided police with a description and a photograph that was released to police departments throughout the area, including the Town of Warwick Police Department. It was that description that prompted Cunningham to make the arrest following the traffic stop on Jersey Avenue. Olson credited the leads developed by investigators, including those from the District Attorney's Office, the Troop F forensic investigation unit and BCI officers from Monroe barracks at the crime scene as well as Cunningham's quick thinking on the initial stop in making the arrest. Bardsley is in the Orange County Jail, charged with second-degree murder. And while prosecutors were preparing to make their case to a Grand Jury, about 75 people gathered under overcast skies in the Monroe Cemetery to bury Binenfeld Wednesday morning. "Robert had a dark side and his sickness did him in, but he also was a very good friend to me and my family," said Dr. Burt Garber of Monroe, a retired dentist who was one of two people who offered a eulogy for a man he called a friend for nearly 30 years. "He was very talented
he had keen intellect
he threw the best parties," Garber said in an interview Wednesday night. "And he was one of the last $20 doctors, if you know what I mean, because he would see anybody. "He delivered hundreds of babies, and those people became his patients." It was that side of Binenfeld's life, Garber added, that prompted so many to say goodbye in the graveyard in Monroe Wednesday. "There were 70-75 people at his funeral, and not one of them didn't have a story to tell." Binenfeld has not had hospital privileges at any Orange County hospital since the early 1980s when officials at what was then Arden Hill Hospital in Goshen asked for his resignation. However, in addition to his private practice, Binenfeld did find work with the state as a physician at the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick. In May 1988, the state Health Department suspended his license for 2 ½ years after finding him guilty of nine counts of professional misconduct, moral unfitness, practicing medicine fraudulently and willfully harassing, abusing or intimidating a patient. Published reports at the time cited state health department records that indicated that he admitted that he masturbated various patients and performed an act of oral sex. Then 10 years ago this month, the state Department of Health revoked Binenfeld's license to practice medicine. A five-member committee found that Binenfeld had prescribed Vicodin, Valium, Xanax and other narcotics to patients without justification. "The committee concluded that the respondent was devoid of skill, knowledge and judgment," reads the Dec. 14, 1994, report. "The committee determined that the respondent shows no awareness of his gross departures from accepted standards and actually considers his practice to be mainstream. The committee determined that the respondent would continue to practice in the same manner unless he was stopped. The committee described the case as particularly troubling because the respondent's ignorance about accepted standards is contributing to our society's ongoing drug problems and the committee described the respondent as little more than a clearinghouse for the wants of known addicts." Three years later, the acting deputy administrator of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency revoked Binenfeld's DEA certificate of registration, according to an Oct.20, 1997, issue of the Federal Registry. That was Binenfeld's "dark side." And that was the test of friendship. "We felt pity for his weaknesses," Garber said. "It was very sad that he compelled himself to endure that ... "It was like the other side of a page you don't want to turn over and read."