May 11, 2022 By Christian Murray
A fiery Astoria woman has been locked up for fatally pushing an 87-year-old woman to the ground in Manhattan in March.
Lauren Pazienza, who lived at the Shore Towers apartment complex in Astoria, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault.
Pazienza, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, had been out on $500,000 bail for allegedly killing Barbara Maier Gustern, an 87-year-old Broadway singing coach from Manhattan. On Tuesday, however, a judge revoked her bail and ordered Pazienza to be held.
The 26-year-old is accused of violently shoving Gustern to the ground at around 8:30 p.m. on March 10 in an unprovoked attack on a Chelsea street.
According to the criminal complaint, Pazienza shoved Gustern after calling her a “bitch” while crossing West 28th Street, between 8th Avenue and 9th Avenue.
Prosecutors said Tuesday that Pazienza was in rage at the time of the shove, since she and her fiancé had just been told to leave Chelsea Park by a Parks Dept. worker where they were celebrating their upcoming wedding. The park was closing for the day.
She allegedly stormed out of Chelsea Park and pushed 4-foot-11-inch Gustern about a block away. She had left her fiancé, Naveen Pereira, behind, who she later met up with back at their Shore Towers apartment.
Gustern was bleeding profusely from the head after the incident and told a friend that she had never been hit harder in her life. An ambulance was called and by the time she got to Bellevue Hospital she was unconscious. She died five days later.
When Pazienza read about Gustern dying, she fled Astoria and went to Long Island, where her parents live.
Pazienza also deactivated her social media accounts.
The NYPD spent several days circulating photographs online looking for a red-haired woman they believed had shoved Gustern.
Pazienza later turned herself in. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Gustern was a well-known vocal coach who had worked with Debbie Harry, as well as a number or Broadway singers.