The young socialite charged with manslaughter for shoving an 87-year-old grandmother on a Manhattan sidewalk is the daughter of a Long Island cesspool mogul, and enjoyed living the high life at swanky parties before she landed behind bars.
Lauren Pazienza, 26, was arraigned on manslaughter charges Tuesday in the death of 87-year-old Barbara Gustern, the beloved Broadway vocal coach she is accused of fatally shoving on March 10.
Prosecutors say Pazienza, who grew up in affluent parts of Long Island, approached Gustern at random, called her a ‘b***h’, pushed her and then fled. She is then said to have watched as an ambulance crew took the frail older woman away with blood seeping from her head.
Pazienza is currently jailed on Rikers Island as her parents pull together funds to meet her $500,000 cash bond obligation – but the former high-end events coordinator is ‘hanging tough’ behind bars, her attorney told the .
Though Pazienza she appears to have lived a life of privilege, and later glamour in New York City’s high society, neighbors told the that she was sharp-tempered and confrontational, and an elementary classmate has claimed she bullied fellow students.
Pazienza grew up in historic Setauket, Long Island, where she attended Ward Melville High School with her future fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira.
A former classmate of Pazienza’s told that when he moved in down the street from her in second grade, she began bullying him.
Pazienza is currently jailed on Rikers Island — but grew up in an affluent family on Long Island and enjoyed Manhattan’s high society. She is seen above in photos from her teenage years
Pazienza, seen on family vacation as a teenager, appears to have lived a life of privilege, and later glamour in New York City’s high society
Pazienza is seen attending a Manhattan rooftop party left as a teenager and the 40th-anniversary party for New York society magazine Avenue in 2015 right
The classmate said that Pazienza always had a ‘crazy look in her eyes’ and would kick him and call him and other kids names.
Her father Daniel owns a prosperous third-generation cesspool draining company, and claims on the company website that it was voted No. 1 in both price and service in Suffolk County for several years running.
Lauren Pazienza, 26, was arraigned on manslaughter charges yesterday for the death of Barbara Gustern, a vocal coach she is accused of pushing over on March 10
In addition to pumping services, the company provides cesspool installations, grease trap installations, septic tank installations, storm drains and BLORAJATI PROJECT catch basin installations.
‘At Dan Pazienza Cesspool Service we pride ourselves on being Suffolk County’s most advanced cesspool service. We have been serving Suffolk County for over 3 generations,’ the website boasts.
Paziensa’s parents Daniel and Caroline, who have been married for 28 years, enjoyed a life of prosperity, taking vacations to Aruba, France, and the Florida Keys over the years, photos on Facebook show.
The family later moved to Port Jefferson, where Paziena allegedly fled to hide in her parents’ home after Gustern’s death.
After graduating high school in 2013, Paziena earned a bachelors degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Photos show her enjoying glamorous parties in Manhattan in recent years, including the 40th-anniversary party for New York society magazine Avenue in 2015.
After graduating high school in 2013, Paziena (above) earned a bachelors degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology
Lauren Pazienza’s parent Daniel and Caroline leave Manhattan Criminal court after their daughter was arraigned for allegedly pushing Barbara Gustern and killing her in an unprovoked attack
Pazienza’s father Daniel owns a prosperous third-generation cesspool draining company (above), and claims on the company website that it was voted No. 1 in both price and service in Suffolk County for several years running
Prosecutors say that on Monday, NYPD detectives visited the parents’ Long Island home (above) after receiving a tip that Pazienza was hiding out there, but that her father claimed that she was not at home and did not consent to a search
Pazienza and her fiance live in a one bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens, which his family owns. Their doorman building is pictured
Pazienza had recently been living in an Astoria condo with her fiancé, who purchased the unit in 2019 with his father.
Neighbors told the Post that they were not entirely surprised to learn of the charges against Pazienza, saying that she was known to have a short fuse and was frequently confrontational.
‘There’s always some type of issue, some type of complaint. You’ll always know it’s her. It’s ridiculous,’ one said.
One neighbor said Pazienza argued with the building management about issues like parking tickets, but that it never got physical.
‘It was verbal. Sometimes she would stand up for herself, definitely,’ said the woman. ‘She will not put up with nonsense … she will say, ‘What is your problem?’ ‘What do you want from me?’
‘There was always an issue with her and someone in the building,’ one neighbor told the outlet. ‘It’s like always something with that lady. I feel for her fiancé because he’s a nice guy and he didn’t sign up for this.’
Prosecutors claim that after the attack on Gustern, Pazienza then spent the next two weeks trying to cover her tracks. She quit her job, deleted her social media pages and even stashed her cell phone at her aunt’s house in Long Island after fleeing her Astoria apartment, where she lives with her Microsoft-employee fiance.
Eventually, she handed herself in after the NYPD released clear-as-day photos of her getting on the subway some 20 minutes after the attack.
Now, she is being held in custody. Her parents Daniel and Caroline are scrambling to come up with the $500,000 bond that was set by a judge on Tuesday.
Pazienza’s parents Caroline and Daniel. Prosecutors say she hid at her parents’ home for days and that they lied to cops when they went looking for her, claiming she was not there
Following Pazienza’s surrender and arraignment after a citywide manhunt, Gustern’s grandson AJ expressed his relief that she faces trial for the killing, with a potential prison sentenc
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Pazienza lives with her fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira (with her above). Prosecutors say the two were seen arguing on the street soon after the fatal attack
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Speaking to reporters after the arraignment, Aidala insisted that, even if his client had shoved 87-year-old Gursten, a manslaughter charge was unwarranted.
The A-list attorney said that pushing someone ‘who’s on the sidewalk’ isn’t the same thing as ‘pushing someone in front of a cliff’ or ‘pushing someone in front of a moving train’, according to the .
Aidala criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose progressive policies call for reducing or dropping charges for some non-violent crimes, accusing him of inconsistency.
‘The DA goes out of their way to undercharge a case, and in this particular case they’re overcharging,’ Aidala claimed, speculating that the manslaughter charge was due to his client’s ‘socioeconomic status,’ ‘race’ or the media interest in the case.
Pazienza’s next court hearing has been set for Friday.
At Tuesday’s arraignment, assistant district attorney Justin McNabney revealed new details of the case, including how an intensive NYPD canvass for surveillance footage led to the identification of Pazienza as a suspect.
The fatal attack occurred at the corner of West 28th Street and Eighth Avenue, and prosecutors say that video shows Pazienza wandering in the area for about 20 minutes after the assault.
Prosecutors say that approximately seven minutes after the attack, she was seen having a physical altercation with a man believed to be her fiancé, Microsoft customer support specialist Naveen Pereira.
Some 13 minutes after the attack, she was seen standing on the south side of West 29th Street, looking toward West 28th Street, and watching the ambulance as it arrived to assist Gustern.
Pazienza is shown walking near the scene of the crime on March 10 at around 8.30pm. Prosecutors say that the NYPD meticulously tracked her movements after the attack through a painstaking review of surveillance footage across the city
Police issued these images of Pazienza on Saturday, claiming she was responsible for the attack. She handed herself in two days later but it’s unclear if she has admitted to pushing the woman over
Then, about half an hour after the attack, Pazienza and her fiancé were seen entering Penn Station, where they each swiped a MetroCard belonging to Pereira.
Detectives further tracked the couple from Penn Station to the Times Square subway station, all the way back to Astoria, Queens, where they live together. Pazienza arrived home at about 9.50pm, wearing the same clothes as the attacker, prosecutors said video footage from their apartment building shows.
The painstaking search through surveillance video revealed extremely clear images of the alleged attacker, which the NYPD released to the public on Saturday, leading to an anonymous tip that Pazienza committed the crime and was hiding out at her parents’ house on Long Island.
Prosecutors say that only after cops visited her parents’ home, where her father refused to let them inside and said his daughter was not at home.
The father, Daniel, operates a cesspool company on Long Island, and appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a charcoal suit.
During the manhunt, prosecutors say that Lauren Pazienza took ‘every effort to avoid apprehension’ by quitting another job at a Chelsea shop, deleting all of her social media, and even removing a website with details of her pending wedding.
ADA McNabney argued in court that Pazienza was a serious flight risk after evading arrest for nearly two weeks, and asked that she be denied bail, but Judge Michael Gaffey declined and set bail at $500,000 cash, or $1 million if the amount is partially secured or paid by an insurance company.
As of early Tuesday evening, it did not appear that Pazienza had posted bond, but her attorney said that her parents were making arrangements to secure the funds as soon as possible.
Defense attorney Aidala told reporters that his client will likely plead not guilty, adding that she is a ‘moral’ person and has been sent to the ‘Twilight Zone,’ with her arrest.
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Arthur Aidala (left), lawyer for Lauren Pazienza, is seen after Tuesday’s arraignment. He told DailyMail.com that there is no proof his client was the assailant
The parents of Lauren Pazienza leave criminal court trailed by members of the media after their daughter’s arraignment Tuesday in New York. The 26-year-old woman of Port Jefferson, Long Island, faces a manslaughter charge in the death of Barbara Maier Gustern
Pazienza’s parents leave Manhattan criminal court trailed by members of the media after their daughter’s arraignment
Prosecutors say that Pazienza fled to her parents (above) Long Island home the day after the victim died, as NYPD launched an all-out manhunt
Pazienza worked as an events coordinator for the furniture brand Roche Bobois, but quit her role in December. It’s unclear what motive she could have had for pushing the woman.
She is from Port Jefferson, Long Island, and handed herself in to cops on Tuesday along with an attorney.
Gustern’s family has not yet commented on her arrest. Her father Daniel runs a cesspool company.
It remains unclear if there is any connection between the pair, but prosecutors say that the victim did not recognize her assailant, and did not know why she was being attacked.
On March 10, Gustern was walking towards a cab outside her apartment building on 28th Street Chelsea when she was pushed from behind at 8.30pm.
She hit her head and later went into a coma, then died four days later.
Her grandson has been painstakingly searching for answers and keeping loved ones updated in Facebook posts.
The NYPD on Saturday released photographs of Pazienza getting on the subway near where the attack happened.
Pazienza made no comment as she was taken out of the 10th Precinct to the courthouse on Tuesday
Pazienza on Tuesday being brought to central booking in Manhattan
Gustern’s grandson AJ has been updating her Facebook page. She died on March 15 – four days after being pushed to the ground
She turned herself in on Tuesday morning with an attorney was booked for manslaughter.
She lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Shore Towers, a doorman building in Astoria, with her fiance Naveen Pereira.
The apartment was last sold in 2019 for $540,000, according to public records. Pazienza’s fiance is listed as the owner, along with a relative.
Her parents Daniel and Caroline have not yet commented on her arrest.
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