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Suspect in Manhattan fatal shoving incident lived at Shore Towers in Astoria

Astoria
Astoria resident Lauren Pazienza turned herself into the 10th Precinct and was charged with fatally shoving 87-year-old voice coach Barbara Gustern on March 10. (Photo by Dean Moses)

The woman who is accused of pushing an 87-year-old voice coach to her death in Manhattan remains behind bars on Rikers Island, just up the East River from the Shore Towers condominium in Astoria where she reportedly lives with her fiancé.

Lauren Pazienza, 26, who was charged Tuesday with manslaughter in the first degree and assault in the first degree, turned herself into the 10th Precinct 12-days after she allegedly shoved Barbara Maier Gustern so hard she fell and struck her head on the pavement at West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue in Chelsea, in what police called “an unprovoked, senseless attack.”

EMS responded and transported the victim to a local hospital where she succumbed to her brain injury five days later on March 15. Gustern died of blunt force trauma to the head, the city medical examiner’s office said.

During her arraignment, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney said that after the attack, Pazienza got into a physical altercation with her fiancé before they returned to their Shore Towers condo in Astoria later that evening.

The following day, McNabey said Pazienza left Astoria and fled to her parent’s home in Port Jefferson, Long Island. When NYPD detectives arrived at the home, her father told them she wasn’t there. MacNabey said her lawyer contacted police and arranged for her surrender at the 10th Precinct the next day.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Michael Gaffey set bail at $500,000 cash or $1 million bond. The judge also ordered a psychological evaluation for Pazienza. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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