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The Independent UK

New York woman sent back to jail after being charged for shove that killed 87-year-old Broadway voice coach


A New York woman has been sent back to jail after being charged for fatally shoving 87-year-old Broadway voice coach Barbara Maier Gustern.

Lauren Pazienza was previously released on bail after the unprovoked attack on Ms Gustern, but a Manhattan judge revoked her $500,000 bail on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old event planner was detained at her state Supreme Supreme Court arraignment. She pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and assault.

Ms Pazienza and Ms Gustern didn’t know each other and Judge Felicia Menin said she was concerned that the suspect may not appear in court.

“I’m concerned that Ms Pazienzia is a flight risk ... a serious flight risk,” Judge Menin said, according to the New York Daily News.

“It appears that [the shove] was for a random reason. The victim in this case was apparently left lying on the sidewalk. The defendant walked away. She faces significant prison time if convicted. Although that may not seem a reality at this time, as the case proceeds, I have serious concerns it may affect her desire to return to court,” she added.

Barbara Maier Gustern, with her grandson AJ Gustern (Facebook/Gustern Family)
Lauren Pazienza, 26, of Port Jefferson, NY, who was arrested in the death of a 87-year-old Broadway singing coach, arrives at court, in New York, Tuesday, March 22, 2022 (AP)
Lauren Pazienza is seen in her mugshot following her arrest for the shoving death of Barbara Maier Gustern (NYPD)

Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney said that Ms Pazienza had consumed “several glasses of wine” with her fiancé before the assault of Ms Gustern on 10 March.

An employee of the Parks Department asked Ms Pazienza to leave Chelsea Park, where she was eating dinner when it was about to close.

Mr McNabney said Ms Pazienza “became angry, started cursing at the park employee, threw her food onto her fiancé”.

She allegedly left the scene and walked to W 28th Street close to Eighth Avenue where Ms Gustern was walking down the street.

Mr McNabney said that as she lay dying, Ms Gustern told witnesses that Ms Pazienza “pushed her as hard as she had ever been pushed in her life”.

Ms Pazienza didn’t tell her fiancé, Naveen Pereira, about what had taken place until they were about to go to sleep that same night at his condo in Astoria, Mr Pereira told authorities.