A 26-year-old woman was charged with manslaughter yesterday with in connection with death of a Broadway vocal coach, Barbara Maier Gustern.
Lauren Pazienza, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on one count of first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault. She did not enter a plea, according to Naomi Puzzello and Caitlyn Fowles, spokespeople for the Manhattan DA’s Office.
Police say Gustern was pushed from behind by a woman on the night of March 10. Prosecutors said Pazienza crossed the street in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, allegedly called Gustern a “bitch” and pushed her
as hard as [Gustern] had ever been hit in her life.”
According to Associate District Attorney Justin McNabney, an eyewitness to the assault took Gustern into the lobby of her apartment building, EMS transported her to the hospital where she later died on March 15 after being removed from life support.
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner concluded the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the criminal complaint.
The woman who pushed 87-yr voice coach to ground in Chelsea. If you know this person please contact #NYPC She is a suspect wanted for questioning in the murder of Barbara Maier Gustern! pic.twitter.com/HxCiZ0Hk6p— melindm 💙💛🇺🇦☮️ (@melindm2) March 18, 2022
According to CNN,
After the attack, surveillance footage appeared to show Pazienza allegedly staying in the area for at least 20 minutes, McNabney said. Video appears to show her allegedly witnessing the ambulance arriving at Gustern’s apartment about 13 minutes after the attack.
Prosecutors accuse Pazienza of attempting to evade apprehension for the attack. In order to avoid arrest, Pazienza allegedly deleted her social media and her wedding website, though she had set a wedding date for June, according to McNabney.
She also allegedly left New York City, went to her parents’ house on Long Island, and stopped using her cell phone, instead keeping it at her aunt’s house to avoid discovery, McNabney said.
Many of my friends, performing artists in NYC knew and loved Gustern who was a beloved member of the Broadway community. They were saddened and outraged over her senseless murder and spread the word far and wide on social media and with flyers on the streets, which eventually help lead to Pazienza’s arrest.
An anonymous tip revealed she was hiding on Long Island at the house of her parents, but when police arrived at their house, Pazienza’s father said she wasn’t home.
Pazienza’s attorney later called the police and arranged for Pazienza to turn herself in on Tuesday, after evading arrest for nearly two weeks. Judge Michael Gaffey set her cash bail at $500,000.
A suspect surrenders in the senseless fatal shove of 87-year-old singing coach in Chelsea, Manhattan, and is charged with manslaughter— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 22, 2022
Detectives charged Lauren Pazienza, 26, of Long Island for pushing Barbara Maier Gustern to the ground, killing her.https://t.co/LLEDnXqThg