A New York judge has denied bail for the Lauren Pazienza who fatally shoved an 87-year-old vocal coach Barbara Gustern in March.
Pazienza pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and assault charges on Tuesday. According to WABC-TV, the 26-year-old will remain in custody pending her trial.
Prosecutors described a tantrum lead-up to the attack. Pazienza told detectives that she had several glasses of wine and had just gotten into a fight with her fiancé before she reportedly shoved Gustern, who had just finished a rehearsal.
Five days after the alleged attack, Gustern died from the severe head injury she sustained after hitting her head on the sidewalk.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg said,
This was a senseless and unprovoked attack.
Barbara Gustern was a beloved vocal coach who lived a vibrant and active life at the age of 87, and her loss was felt deeply by many throughout the city. After allegedly walking away from Ms. Gustern as she laid on the ground bleeding, Lauren Pazienza went to great lengths to avoid accountability for her actions.”
Following the incident and citing surveillance footage, Pazienza stayed in the area for 20 minutes. During that time, she allegedly engaged in a physical altercation with her fiancé and watched the ambulance arrive for Gustern.
Authorities said she then fled to her parents’ Long Island home.
One of Gustern’s students, Morgan Jenness, who was in the courtroom for the judge’s ruling, told the outlet she agreed with the decision to deny the suspect bail.
She ran across the street to push an elderly woman for no reason, because she was having a temper tantrum, and pushed her so hard that she hit her head and bled out and died.
And I’m sorry for her. I’m sorry for her parents. But what she did needs to have consequences.”
The day of the attack Gustern wrote on Facebook that she was looking forward to performing onstage at Don’t Tell Mama‘s piano bar that coming weekend,
I went through a period of feeling detatched.
I couldn’t remember lyrics. I felt like my voice had totally abandoned me. The thought of doing a show was like sentencing me to be tortured. But as of today all that is reversed.
I feel full of creativity, joy at working on a beautiful show with people I adore and totally respect.
I feel like a singer again for the first time in forever.”
Pazienza has retained attorney Arthur Aidala, who told People that the evidence as to what happened is unclear,
…there clearly was no intent to do serious harm to anyone.”
So, shoving an 87 year woman on the street as hard as you can is not “intent”? Pazienza’s attorney better brush up on the law before trial –I believe that is the definition of intent.
A 26-year-old woman accused of fatally shoving Barbara Maier Gustern, a beloved 87-year-old Broadway singing coach, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and assault charges on Tuesday. Prosecutors described a tantrum lead-up to the attack. https://t.co/pV2TgUEabS— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 10, 2022