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Granny Shover Sentenced: Woman Who Pushed 87-Year-Old Broadway Coach to Her Death Gets 8.5 Years in Prison

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Barbara Gustern, 87, died as a result of injuries sustained in a random assault last March.

Sep. 29 2023, Published 7:35 p.m. ET

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A New York heiress, whose violent shove led to the death of Broadway coach Barbara Gustern, 87, was sentenced to prison on Friday, has learned.

Lauren Pazienza, 27, broke down in tears as she was ordered to serve 8 and a half years behind bars for the unprovoked attack.

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Pazienza was overcome with emotions in the Manhattan courtroom when she learned her fate. Pazienza was sentenced to 8 and half years behind bars, followed by 5 years of post-release supervision.

While the woman, who's the heiress to a Long Island-based cesspool-draining fortune, cried uncontrollably in the courtroom, her sentence was far less than the 25 years she faced had the case gone to trial.

Pazienza previously pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter charges related to the senseless attack last March.

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Barbara Gustern, 87, was a grandmother, Broadway vocal coach and performer.

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On March 10, 2022, Pazienza was out with her fiancé celebrating 100 days until their wedding when she was asked to leave Chelsea Park, which was closing.

Prosecutors said Pazienza became enraged, crossed the street, and charged at Gustern, whom she did not know, from behind. She reportedly called the 87-year-old a "b----" before she shoved her.

The Broadway coach suffered a severe head injury in the assault. She was later taken to the hospital in critical condition and died five days later from her injuries.

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According to Pazienza's attorney, she was drunk and high at the time.

"She had had drugs, she had maybe two bottles of wine, and a ton of marijuana," attorney Arthur Aidala said of his client in June. Pazienza's fiancé also told prosecutors that she had "several glasses of wine" the evening of the attack.

Prosecutors claimed Pazienza showed no remorse as she failed to mention the assault to her fiancé until hours later — and then proceeded to try to cover up her heinous actions for the next two weeks.

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After she was shoved, Gustern was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died 5 days later.

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Prosecutors claimed after Pazienza waited hours to mention shoving Gustern to her fiancé, she deleted her social media accounts and took down their wedding website. She allegedly went as far as dropping off her cell phone at her aunt's house, presumably to avoid having her location tracked.

The New York Police Department released CCTV footage of the suspect, which prompted Pazienza to turn herself over to authorities.

Former classmates said they weren't surprised by Pazienza's charges as they called her the "poster child for white privilege," according to the Daily Mail.



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