The 28-year-old New York City socialite Lauren Pazienza, responsible for the death of a Broadway vocal coach, recently faced an extended prison sentence. Pazienza, the heiress of a successful Long Island draining company, was criticized for her “inability to take responsibility for her actions.”
On Friday, Pazienza appeared in court to receive her sentence after pleading guilty in August to manslaughter charges. Initially, she expected an eight-year sentence. However, Justice Felicia Mennin added an extra six months for the death of 87-year-old Barbara Maier Gustern, a prolific Broadway coach.
Woman, 26, arrested in shoving death of NYC singing coach, 87 https://t.co/MOfuhmMFfF
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) March 22, 2022
Mennin told Pazienza on Friday, “I am deeply concerned by your apparent inability to take responsibility for your actions.” According to reports, she was required to issue a second apology.
On March 10, 2022, Pazienza was reportedly out with her fiancé and allegedly shoved Broadway singing coach Gustern to the ground in front of her building. Calling her a derogatory term. Assistant District Attorney Justin McNabney stated that this act left Gustern “bleeding profusely from the head.”
After pushing the victim, Pazienza left the scene and took refuge at her parents’ Long Island home. Later, she turned herself into authorities when she learned that Gustern had died five days later from severe brain injuries resulting from being aggressively shoved.
According to prosecutors, she deleted her social media accounts and wedding website. Pazienza’s attorney, Arthur Aidala, attempted to introduce the element of race into the case. He claimed that the charges against his client were connected to her being a “white girl.”
Aidala told sources, “It’s just ignorant, naïve, and inaccurate to say race does not play a role in this and the media coverage.” He argued that the media coverage was only present because Pazienza was white and suggested that if the situation were different, the case likely would not have received as much attention.
“I never should have pushed anybody, and I’m so sorry. I wish I could take it back, but God doesn’t turn back the clocks. I’m just so sorry,” Pazienza said during her second attempt at an apology during the Friday sentencing.
By pleading guilty to manslaughter, Pazienza avoided a jury trial and the potential for a more significant sentence of up to 25 years in prison. Arthur Aidala mentioned that Pazienza had consumed drugs, two bottles of wine, and a substantial amount of marijuana before attacking Gustern.
Barbara Bleier, a friend and student of the Broadway coach Gustern, also criticized Pazienza’s statements in court. She reportedly said, “What [Pazienza] said is the usual cop-out for an apology. She said, ‘I’m sorry it happened.’ It didn’t happen; she happened.”
Speaking on behalf of his deceased grandmother, AJ Maier Gustern expressed his frustration after the court hearing. He stated, “She squirms and squirms and squirms. She just doesn’t seem capable of accepting responsibility.”
Accountability and responsibility should transcend societal backgrounds and personal circumstances. The case of Lauren Pazienza and the unfortunate death of Barbara Maier Gustern highlight the principle that everyone, regardless of their social status, must be held accountable for their actions.
At its core, justice ensures that individuals are responsible for their choices. Through this accountability, we can maintain our legal system’s integrity. As we reflect on this case, it is vital to strive for a legal framework that remains impartial, consistent and committed to upholding the values of fairness and equity for all members of society.