NYC judge remands Lauren Pazienza in death of Barbara Gustern

Lauren Pazienza — the woman accused of shoving a beloved 87-year-old voice coach to her death on a city street — was tossed behind bars by a Manhattan judge on Tuesday.

Pazienza, who was out on $500,000 bail her mom posted, remained stone-faced as Justice Felicia Menin ruled she was a “serious flight risk” and should be held in jail pending trial during a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The 26-year-old Long Island native pleaded not guilty through her lawyers on an indictment charging her with a first-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault in the death of Barbara Maier Gustern.

Lauren Pazienza was ordered to be held in jail pending trial during a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Steve Hirsch
Lauren Pazienza
Lauren Pazienza allegedly called Barbara Gustern a “bitch” before allegedly pushing her in an unprovoked attack.
Steve Hirsch
Lauren Pazienza
Lauren Pazienza is facing up to 25 years in prison if found guilty.
Steve Hirsch
Lauren Pazienza
Lauren Pazienza pleaded not guilty to all her charges which include first-degree manslaughter.
Steve Hirsch

Pazienza, an event organizer and scion of a lucrative cesspool empire, allegedly called Gustern a “bitch” before pushing her in an unprovoked attack in Chelsea on March 10, police said.

The octogenarian fell and hit her head, dying from her injuries five days later.

Prosecutors revealed Tuesday that Pazienza allegedly flew into a rage after being told to leave a park, where she’d been celebrating with her fiancé because the green space was closing.

Barbara Gustern.
Barbara Gustern fell and hit her head, dying from her injuries five days after the attack.
Tamara Beckwith
Barbara Maier Gustern.
Barbara Gustern was a vocal coach.
Tamara Beckwith
People gather following a memorial service for Barbara Maier Gustern.
People gather following a memorial service for Barbara Gustern.
James Keivom

The fiery redhead threw her food at her betrothed, stormed out of Chelsea Park, and rushed the 4-foot-11 100-pound Gustern, Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney said in court.

Pazienza’s fiancé told prosecutors that the bride-to-be had “several glasses of wine” while the couple was out toasting 100 days before their wedding, McNabney said.

The prosecutor described how the 5-foot-7 and 175 pound Pazienza cursed at and pushed the slight woman “as hard as Ms. Gustern had ever been hit in her life.”

Gustern made the comment about how hard she’d been shoved to a friend who came to the scene before she slipped into unconsciousness from brain swelling, McNabney said.

Pazienza then “walked away, leaving Ms. Gustern prone on the sidewalk, bleeding from the head,” McNabney alleged.

The fiancé eventually found Pazienza, who didn’t tell him about the incident until they went to bed later that night, the prosecutor alleged.

She then became “really scared and nervous” after seeing The Post’s coverage about Gustern’s injuries the next day, McNabney alleged, citing the fiancé,

When Pazienza read about Gustern dying days later, she fled the Big Apple for her parent’s house in Long Island, scrubbed her social media – including her wedding website – stopped using her cellphone and stashed the device at her aunt’s, the alleged prosecutor.

An anonymous tip led cops to Pazienza’s parents’ house. And realizing the police were hot on her trail of her, only then did she turn herself in, McNabney alleged.

“She successfully evaded apprehension for almost two weeks, despite the extraordinary resources devoted to finding her,” McNabney said in successfully arguing for her to be remanded without bail.

Pazienza’s lawyer John Esposito asked the judge to keep the current bail conditions, saying, “our client had no idea it was an elderly woman.”

But the judge shot back, “how does that make a difference?”

“I’m concerned that Ms. Pazienza is a flight risk — and is a serious flight risk,” Menin said in deciding to revoke the suspect’s bail.

“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,” Menin said.

“She faces significant prison time if convicted,” Menin said of Pazienza. “I have serious concerns it may affect her desire for her to return to court.”

Gustern was a vocal coach whose clients included “Blondie’s” Debbie Harry.

Pazienza faces between five and 25 years behind bars if convicted.


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