Woman Pleads Guilty in Death of Broadway Vocal Coach

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Image Credit: Facebook/Crime Stoppers NYPD

Lauren Pazienza has changed her plea from not guilty to guilty in the case of the death of 87-year-old Broadway vocal coach Barbara Gustern. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced the plea deal, which includes an eight-year prison sentence and five years of post-release supervision. Pazienza, a former events coordinator, will be officially sentenced on September 29 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The incident occurred on March 10, 2022, when Pazienza, reportedly under the influence of alcohol and engaged in an argument with her fiancé, crossed the street near Gustern’s apartment building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Without any prior acquaintance, Pazienza shouted an expletive at Gustern and forcefully shoved her to the ground. Gustern fell on her head, resulting in a severe brain hemorrhage. Pazienza left the scene, leaving Gustern bleeding from her head wound.

Eyewitnesses called emergency services, and Gustern was rushed to the hospital, where she later died after being taken off life support five days later. Pazienza remained in the vicinity for 20 minutes before reuniting with her fiancé and returning home to Queens via the subway. She later turned herself in after being identified through security footage.

Barbara Gustern was a respected musical theater performer and vocal coach, known for her work with various artists and productions, including the cast of the 2019 Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!” directed by Daniel Fish, Taylor Mac, Justin Vivian Bond, and Debbie Harry. On the night of the incident, Gustern had left her Chelsea apartment after rehearsing for an upcoming cabaret show. She was on her way to the Public Theater’s Joe’s Pub venue to watch a student’s performance.


Ryan Scott
Author: Ryan Scott

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