A 28-year-old former event planner, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in August, has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison for the unprovoked shoving of an 87-year-old Broadway voice coach onto a Manhattan sidewalk last year.
Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Felicia Mennin on Friday added six months to the eight years already agreed upon in Lauren Pazienza’s plea deal, saying she didn’t believe Pazienza had taken responsibility for her actions.
Pazienza left Barbara Maier Gustern bleeding on a Chelsea sidewalk soon after the woman cracked her head March 10, 2022, as a result of Pazienza’s shove. She suffered a “massive hemorrhage” on the left side of her brain and died after five days in a hospital.
The defendant could have faced 25 years in prison if she hadn’t taken the plea deal and had been found guilty by a jury.
As part of a plea deal, Pazienza admitted to hurling profanities at Gustern and intentionally shoving her to the ground. Her motive remains unclear.
Prosecutors previously said the younger woman rushed Gustern on a Chelsea sidewalk, called her a “b—-,” and knocked her to the ground from behind.
She has been held at the Rikkers Island jail since March 2022 when a judge revoked her bail.
“Lauren Pazienza aggressively shoved Barbara Gustern to the ground and walked away as the beloved New Yorker lay there bleeding,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement after she pled guilty. “Today’s plea holds Pazienza accountable for her deadly actions.”
Gustern was a vocal coach whose clients have included such celebrities as Blondie singer Debbie Harry, as well as Kimilee Bryant, a South Carolinian performer who referred to her former mentor as her “New York mom,” and who told Fox News Digital that Gustern and her late husband had taken her in when she arrived in the Big Apple years ago for her first stint on Broadway in “The Phantom of the Opera.”
“We’d really become close, because they really adopted lots of sorts of strays, as they would call us, for holidays because we couldn’t go home,” she said. “I couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving. We had a show.”
Fox News Digital’s Michael Ruiz and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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