Long Island Woman Gives Up in Connection with Fatal Shove of Elderly Vocal Coach Barbara Maier Gustern

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A 26-year old Long Island woman has been accused of manslaughter for the death of her beloved Broadway vocal coach.

Lauren Pazienza is accused of violently shoving 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern to the ground earlier this month in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The attack was unprovoked, according to police. Gustern died four days later from head trauma.

Police issued a wanted poster with an image of Pazienza, taken from surveillance video. After the image was plastered all over the city and circulated online, Pazienza, an event planner, turned herself into police. She was accompanied at all times by her lawyer.

Pazienza was born in Long Island, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, and got engaged to her high school sweetheart. She worked as a communications manager at Madison Avenue’s top-end furniture store.

Gustern was a well-respected voice coach who once worked with Blondie’s Debbie Harry and the cast of the 2019 “Oklahoma!” revival. 

A.J. Gustern, her grandson, held her hands during her final moments.

“My initial reaction this morning was one of rage. One less person doing that on the street is good,” A.J. said.

Barbara Gustern will be laid to rest on Saturday.