Barbara Maier Gustern: Suspect Lauren Pazienza devastated over arrest for shoving death, lawyer says


The 26-year-old woman facing manslaughter charges for the shoving death of beloved Broadway vocal coach Barbara Maier Gustern is devastated by her arrest, according to her lawyer.

Lauren Pazienza surrendered herself to police on Tuesday after a 12-day search for the person responsible for assaulting Ms Gustern, an 87-year-old grandmother, on 10 March.

Ms Gustern died five days after being shoved from behind and hitting her head on the pavement as she hailed a taxi near her apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood.

Ms Pazienza, an events planner who was set to get married in June, is being held on $500,000 bail following an arraignment on Tuesday. Her lawyer, Arthur Aidala, spoke to reporters after the hearing and defended her client.

“She was crying. She was in pain. Ella she was being accused of a horrible act and she’s a very moral, right, just person, who went to high school, went to college, ”Mr Aidala said, according to WABC. “She has a job. She has a fiancé. You have a family. For her de ella, she’s in the twilight zone.

Mr Aidala said Ms Pazienza’s parents would pay for bail, which was set at $500,000 (£379,300) by a judge on Tuesday.

He said he also “anticipated” a plea of ​​not guilty, with Ms Pazienza scheduled to appear in court again on 26 March.

She could face 25 years in prison if found guilty.

Police have yet to reveal a motive in the attack, as Ms Pazienza and Ms Gustern are not to believed to have known each other beforehand.

Ms Gustern was initially conscious after being shoved, and according to New York Times told a friend at the scene: “I’ve never been hit so hard in my life.”

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She described her attacker to police and said they “shouted a derogatory term” at her prior to the assault, which occurred when she was on her way to a student’s performance.

Ms Gustern’s grandson, AJ Gustern, said that the attacker “crossed the street, shouted something derogatory at my grandmother, and pushed her down. And then he fled across the street and just fled”.

The incident sent shockwaves through the city, with a Chelsea resident who wanted to stay anonymous calling it “horrible, absolutely horrible”.

“How do you shove an old lady? How do you shove anybody?” they told WABC.

Another Chelsea resident, Tamar Zucker, told the outlet: “We feel easily victimized. And I began to feel vulnerable.”

Investigators reportedly believe Ms Pazienza took the subway to Queens along with her fiancé following the altercation. It has been reported that she then moved on to her parents’ house on Long Island. Her social media accounts of her have been removed.

While Ms Pazienza’s family lives in Port Jefferson, she also has a residence in Astoria, Queens. Her most recent employer was a French furniture designer.

“To be honest, I’m white-hot today,” Ms Gustern’s grandson said. “I’ve been trying to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. It seems to me like this woman comes from a similar background. Like what really got to me was finding pictures of her de ella smiling de ella in art galleries, dressed nicely with other people. ”

Ms Gustern worked in theater for decades. She worked with singers in the 2019 Broadway edition of the musical Oklahoma!which was first performed in 1943.

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She also worked with 2017 MacArthur “genius grant” recipient Taylor Mac. He told New York Times that she was “one of the great humans that I’ve encountered”.

Her funeral is set to take place on Saturday.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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