A woman who randomly attacked a beloved Broadway singing coach, pushing her down onto a Manhattan and killing her, pleaded guilty to manslaughter this Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
Lauren Pazienza, 28, avoided a lengthy prison sentence after admitting to randomly attacking Barbara Maier Gustern on March 10, 2022.
Gustern’s relatives slammed the plea deal, which gives Pazienza a fraction of the maximum 25 years she would’ve faced, the AP reported.
Pazienza, a former event planner originally from Long Island, has been locked up at the city’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex since a judge revoked her bail in May 2022. She is scheduled to be formally sentenced Sept. 29. The time she’s already served will be counted toward her sentence.
According to prosecutors, Pazienza attacked Gustern after storming out of a nearby park, where she and her fiance had been eating meals from a food cart.
Gustern had just left her apartment to catch a student’s performance after hosting a rehearsal for a cabaret show, friends told The New York Times.
Pazienza, who’d had several glasses of wine earlier while celebrating a milestone in her wedding countdown, was upset because the park in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood was closing and she and her fiance were told to leave, prosecutors said.
Pazienza encountered Gustern on West 23rd Street and shoved her to the ground in what police called “an unprovoked, senseless attack,” prosecutors said. Gustern hit her head and was critically injured. She died March 15.
Read the full report over at the Associated Press.