Woman Pleads Guilty To Fatally Shoving 87-Year-Old Broadway Singing Coach

Lauren Pazienza pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years behind bars for the 2022 shoving death of NYC music coach Barbara Maier Gustern.

August 24, 2023
Lauren Pazienza appears in court Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in New York. Panzienza, 28, who fatally shoved 87-year-old Broadway singing coach Barbara Gustern in Manhattan last year, pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter in a plea deal requiring she serve eight years behind bars.

Lauren Pazienza pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years behind bars for the 2022 shoving death of NYC music coach Barbara Maier Gustern.

Photo by: Associated Press

Associated Press

On Aug. 23, 2023, Lauren Pazienza, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2022 death of a beloved New York City music coach.

Under the terms of her plea agreement, Pazienza will be sentenced to eight years in prison and five years of supervision after her release, according to CNN.

At around 8:30 p.m. on March 10, 2022, Pazienza approached 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern near West 28th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, according to NBC News. She then cursed at Gustern before forcibly shoving her to the pavement. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney said there was no provocation for the attack.

A cyclist witnessed the attack and stepped in to help Barbara Maier Gustern to her feet. The victim was bleeding badly from the head wound, so she was taken to Bellevue Hospital where she died from her injuries five days later, reported Eyewitness News.

Lauren Pazienza (l), 26, is charged with manslaughter in the shoving death of 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern (r)

Lauren Pazienza (l), 26, is charged with manslaughter in the shoving death of 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern (r)

Photo by: Lauren Pazienza via NYPD Crime Stoppers [left]; Barbara Maier Gustern via Facebook [right]

Lauren Pazienza via NYPD Crime Stoppers [left]; Barbara Maier Gustern via Facebook [right]

Ms. Gustern was a longtime vocal coach who had worked with stars like Debbie Harry of Blondie and Taylor Mac. She was known to be very supportive of her students. On the night she was attacked, she had gone out to see a student perform. Another student, Melinda Pope DeRocker, told The New York Times., “She didn’t just change the voice. She changed lives.”

A security camera revealed that Lauren Pazienza left the scene while Gustern lay bleeding, but she remained in the area for more than 20 minutes. She and her fiancé were then caught on camera leaving New York City via Penn Station. She took a train to her parents’ house on Long Island where she went into hiding. She deleted her wedding registry website and deleted her social media accounts. She stopped using her cellphone after leaving it at her aunt’s home.

She managed to evade authorities for nearly two weeks but days after police released photos of Pazienza to the public, she turned herself in and was arrested on Tuesday, March 22.

*This article was originally published on March 23, 2022 and updated on August 24, 2023.

Next Up

Remembering The Victims Of The Buffalo Mass Shooting

On May 14, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman walked into the Tops Friendly Market and shot and killed ten people, injuring three others, in what authorities believe was a racially-motivated attack.

Florida Woman Allegedly Murders Roommate, Pours Soda On Herself To Destroy Evidence

Nichole Maks, 35, allegedly murdered her 79-year-old roommate at the Daytona Beach home they shared and tried to cover up the evidence by pouring Diet Mountain Dew on herself.

True Crime News Roundup: Chicago Woman Accused Of Killing And Dismembering Her Landlord

Plus: Parkland mass shooter to be sentenced to life; 15-year-old allegedly kills five in Raleigh shooting spree; Alex Jones ordered to pay $1 billion in damages to Sandy Hook victim families.

What To Know About Reality Star Jen Shah's Wire Fraud Case

The “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” cast member was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for defrauding the elderly.

'Home Alone' Actor Under Investigation For Alleged Rape

Devin Ratray, 45, is being investigated for allegedly raping a woman in his Manhattan apartment in 2017.

True Crime News Roundup: Woman Who Manipulated Boyfriend Into Killing Her Husband Sentenced

Plus: Principal accused of having yearslong sexual relationship with student; NYC teen mother allegedly threw newborn from fifth-floor window; dispute over dog turns deadly in Connecticut; and a judge denies a request for DNA testing in West Memphis Three case.

Amber Alert Canceled After Abducted 13-Year-Old Girl Escapes Kidnapper

A 13-year-old girl was kidnapped from her home in Reading, Pennsylvania on Aug. 31, 2022. Later that day, the girl was found over a hundred miles away.

True Crime News Roundup: Iowa Teenagers Allegedly Killed Spanish Teacher Over Bad Grades

Plus: Gabby Petito’s parents file lawsuit against Utah police; Handyman admits to killing New York mom; Massachusetts ‘Lady of the Dunes’ identified; Long-haul trucker accused of murdering girlfriend.

Former SNL Star Chris Redd Attacked Outside NYC Comedy Club

The comedian was attacked on Oct. 26, 2022 on his way to perform at the Comedy Cellar.

Police Seek Possible Witnesses To 22-Year-Old Brooklyn Woman’s Murder

On Sept. 21, 2022, police responding to reports of a foul odor at a Brooklyn, New York apartment found the dismembered remains of 22-year-old D'Asia Johnson stuffed into a suitcase.