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The daughter of a New York cesspool mogul has been charged with fatally shoving an 87-year old vocal coach and grandmother in Manhattan.
Twenty-six-year-old Lauren Pazienza was arraigned Tuesday on manslaughter charges for her role in the death of Barbara Gustern, a renowned Broadway vocal coach who Pazienza allegedly shoved to her death on a sidewalk on March 10.
Pazienza is the daughter of Long Island cesspool king Daniel Pazienza and has enjoyed a life of affluence, but she is perhaps in for a change of lifestyle as she is currently held at Rikers Island awaiting trial. She grew up in historic Setauket, Long Island where she attended Ward Melville High School and was known to be a bully.
At least one former classmate told Fox News that when he moved in down the street from the family he immediately became Pazienza’s prey. She would allegedly kick him, call him names, and always had a “crazy look in her eyes,” he said.
Her father’s cesspool draining company has been rated No. 1 in price and service in Suffolk County and boasts on its website: “At Dan Pazienza Cesspool Service we pride ourselves on being Suffolk County’s most advanced cesspool service. We have been serving Suffolk County for over 3 generations.”
Police arrest Lauren Pazienza, 26, in the fatal shoving of 87-year-old vocal coach Barbara Gustern. Pazienza, charged with manslaughter, turned herself in on the 12th day of a police search. #NYPD @CBSNewYork #barbaramaiergustern #BarbaraGustern pic.twitter.com/BcdYNSd1Jp
— Dave Carlin (@DaveCarlinTV) March 23, 2022
Her parents, Daniel and Caroline, have been married for 28 years and have maintained a life of prosperity, frequently vacationing in Aruba, France, and the Florida Keys, their social media accounts show. They later moved into a Port Jefferson home where Pazienza is said to have fled after Gustern’s death.
Pazienza graduated high school in 2013 and attained a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She had been working as an events coordinator in Manhattan and living with her fiancé in a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens.
Some of Pazienza’s neighbors say that were not surprised to learn of the charges brought against her, describing her as a frequently confrontational person with a short temper.
“There’s always some type of issue, some type of complaint. You’ll always know it’s her. It’s ridiculous,” one resident told the New York Post. Another neighbor described her as “definitely not the best tenant,” according to the Post.
Prosecutors say that Pazienza spent two weeks after Gustern’s death trying to cover her tracks. She reportedly deleted her social media accounts, hid her cell phone at a relative’s house and even quit her job. Nothing suspicious there. Her family must come up with $500,000 if they want to spring her before the trial.
Pazieneza eventually turned herself in to authorities which brought a sense of relief to Gustern’s grandson and spokesperson, AJ.
“It’s entering a new phase of grief,’ AJ told WCBS-TV. ‘There is a sense of closure.”
“I’d like to stress, innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “If she did do this, then I would like answers.”
Addressing Pazienza, who faces up to 25 years if convicted, AJ told her, “I’m still praying for you, and the karmic weight you’ve taken on is incredible. May God help you.”
He described the devastation of losing his grandmother “Bobbob.”
“She was a force of nature. I called her a little neutron star, right, a ball of energy, building community everywhere she went,” he said.
The apparently random attack occurred on West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue on the evening of March 10. Indications suggest that Pazienza did not know the beloved vocal coach and is simply a sociopath. She curiously hung around the area for about 20 minutes after the assault and watched as paramedics placed Gustern in an ambulance with blood oozing from her head. Gustern was placed on life support at the hospital and succumbed to her injuries five days later.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 23, 2022
Before losing consciousness, Gustern told police that Pazienza called her a “b***h” and shoved her “as hard as she had ever been hit in her life.”
A scouring of city-wide surveillance footage revealed unmistakably that Pazienza was the suspect. Part of the footage showed her arguing with her fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira, before the two entered Penn Station.
“What they have is a photo of someone who looks like my client getting on the subway. This attack did not happen on the subway,” said defense attorney Arthur Aidala, who has previously represented Rudolph Giuliani, Harvey Weinstein, and Roger Ailes.
“The DA goes out of their way to undercharge a case, and in this particular case they’re overcharging,” Aidala said.
After an anonymous tip, NYPD officers arrived at the family’s home in Long Island. Her father refused to allow them entry and said his daughter was not at home, which may present a serious problem for him if it is determined he was lying about his daughter’s whereabouts.
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