Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ashe Schow.
The woman accused of fatally shoving Broadway singing coach Barbara Gustern, 87, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of manslaughter and assault.
Lauren Pazienza, 26, shoved Gustern in an unprovoked attack that put the singing coach in the hospital, where she died five days later. Pazienza pleaded not guilty to the charges against her, arguing that she never intended to seriously hurt anyone.
Her attorney, Arthur Aidala, told People that the evidence against his client was unclear and that "there clearly was no intent to do serious harm to anyone."
Pazienza was celebrating her upcoming wedding with her fiancé on the night of the shoving incident, The New York Times reported. Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office said in court that Pazienza had several glasses of wine with her fiancé before eventually purchasing food from a food cart and entering Chelsea Park.
A Parks Department employee reportedly told the couple that they had to leave the park since it was going to close soon. In response, Pazienza began screaming at the employee and then turned on her fiancé. She "threw her food on to her fiancé and stormed out of the park,"
prosecutor Justin McNabney told the court, according to the Times.
Her fiancé told prosecutors that he started to head home, while Pazienza went a different direction, eventually seeing Gustern, crossing the street, and shoving her to the ground. Pazienza allegedly called Gustern a "b****"
before the attack. Afterward, Pazienza called her fiancé to reunite, but when they did, she started to yell at him again. Before the two returned home, Pazienza watched the ambulance arrive at Gustern's apartment building.
Prosecutors went on to say that Pazienza told her fiancé that night that she had pushed someone, telling him that the person she pushed "might have said something to her,"
though she couldn't be sure. Two days later, after seeing the case covered in the media, Pazienza allegedly grew nervous, her fiancé told the authorities. He said she showed him an article about the assault and that she eventually told a cousin what she had done.
That's when Pazienza's fiancé said she fled to her parents' home on Long Island, deleted her social media accounts, and removed her wedding website. She also left her cellphone at her aunt's home. She would later hide out at the aunt's home.
After police went to Pazienza's parents' home and her father said she wasn't there, she turned herself in.
"We now know from the substance of the defendant's confession and the victim's own description of the incident that this was an intentional act,"
McNabney said in court, according to the Times. "There is no evidence whatsoever to support any inference that this was accidental or merely reckless."
McNabney asked that Pazienza be held without bail, arguing that she was a flight risk, an assessment her attorneys John Esposito and John Leventhal disputed. The two attorneys said Pazienza had proved she wasn't a flight risk in the month-and-a-half since she turned herself in by showing up in court, and noted that her friends and family had already paid a $500,000 bail set earlier.
Judge Felicia Mennin sided with the prosecution and ordered Pazienza to be held without bail.
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