Given the seriousness of this situation, the fact that this man is free is frankly shocking.
A Virginia man who once suffered a psychiatric break and killed a merchant believing he was a werewolf was ordered to stay off social media Thursday after he appeared to gloss over his violent past in an online dating profile.
Pankaj Bhasin, who is free on conditional release after he spent three years in a mental health facility, recently had a Facebook dating profile that called himself “an easy going adventurer who believes in universal connection” who is “recently getting back from two years of travel,” NBC Washington reported this week.
Alexandria Circuit Court Chief Judge Lisa Bondareff Kemler told Bhasin, 38, on Thursday to stay off social media as long as he’s on conditional release. But he will be allowed to keep using LinkedIn as he looks for a job, NBC Washington reported.
Back in the summer of 2018, Bhasin stabbed Bradford Jackson more than 50 times, leaving behind a gruesome scene inside Window Universe in Alexandria, police said.
Bhasin claimed he had suffered a psychiatric break when he killed Jackson, 65, a stranger he believed was a werewolf. After a mistrial, when jurors leaned toward acquittal, prosecutors agreed to a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity, leading to a three-year stint at a mental health facility.
Bhasin’s recently uncovered dating profile unnerved Sarah Bryen, 37, a friend of Jackson’s who flagged the social media presence to authorities.
“It’s deceptive,” Bryen told NBC News on Thursday. “I mean, when you meet someone online, you never know who you’re going out on date with for the most part. It could be a guy who stabbed someone 53 times.”
Bryen said she was at a loss for words after she spotted Bhasin’s very normal profiles.
“He got out way sooner than anyone expected, and I don’t know what went through my mind [after she saw Bhasin’s social media presence] other than ‘Whoa,'” Bryen said.
Bhasin’s attorney, Peter Greenspun, declined to specifically discuss the case outside court. He said in statement to NBC News: “Mr. Bhasin is not on any social media or dating sites. He has and will continue to follow all the directions of the City of Alexandria Circuit Court.”
Greenspun said Bhasin is “doing extremely well” and working “hard with his treatment team.” He acknowledged that his client’s freedom could still be “understandably” upsetting to Jackson’s friends and loved ones.
“None of this diminishes in any manner the tragedy of the death of Bradford Jackson and the overwhelming loss to his many family members and friends,” Greenspun said.
“Mr. Bhasin has expressed his remorse for Mr. Jackson and those who knew him in every setting possible, including in his treatment. While those expressions may, understandably, not be enough for those who are suffering, it is sincere and constant and has been an important part of his recovery.”