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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Two Men Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With 2014 Robbery And Murder

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a federal indictment charging FRANK BRIGHT, a/k/a “Frankie,” and JOHN DUNCAN, a/k/a “Balla,” a/k/a “Moreno,” with the murder of Amaury Paulino.  Paulino was shot and killed on Christmas Eve in 2014 during the course of an armed robbery in the vicinity of St. Nicholas Avenue and West 129th Street.

BRIGHT was arrested today and will be presented in federal court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda K. Caracappa.  DUNCAN is in federal custody on another offense.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:   “As alleged, Bright and Duncan planned a gunpoint robbery of Amaury Paulino, which resulted in his murder.  The defendants will now face justice for their alleged roles in this violent robbery.  We thank our law enforcement partners for their extraordinary efforts investigating this murder.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “A cold case has brought two men before the bar of justice today after efforts by the NYPD, DEA, and U.S. Attorney’s Office to find those allegedly responsible for a 2014 Christmas Eve murder.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “According to the allegations, the two defendants in this case are violent criminals who shot and killed a man during a robbery on Christmas Eve.  I want to thank the members of the NYPD, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office whose work secured today’s indictments and helps keep New York City safe.”


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According to the allegations in the Indictment[1] and information in the public record:


On December 24, 2014, BRIGHT and DUNCAN robbed Amaury Paulino in the vicinity of St. Nicholas Avenue and West 129th Street.  During the course of the robbery, Paulino was shot and killed. 


FRANK BRIGHT, 31, and JOHN DUNCAN, 32, are charged in the Indictment with one count of robbery conspiracy, one count of robbery, and one count of murder through the use of a firearm and aiding and abetting the same.  A chart containing the charges and maximum penalties is below.  The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants would be determined by the judge.


Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD and the DEA.


This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit and Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Gina Castellano, Jordan Estes, and Jason Richman are in charge of the prosecution.


The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 







Robbery conspiracy


18 U.S.C. § 1951

20 years in prison




18 U.S.C. § 1951

20 years in prison


Murder through use of a firearm


18 U.S.C. § 924(j)

Death or life in prison



[1] As the introductory phase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the descriptions of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation. 

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
Updated January 25, 2018