(VitalNews.org) – A 28-year-old woman has been sentenced to just 8 years in prison after admitting to killing an 87-year-old woman in an unprovoked attack in Manhattan, New York. Lauren Pazienza took a plea deal in which she pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Wednesday, August 23. If she had not taken the deal but had been convicted in court, she faced being sentenced to up to 25 years in prison instead.
On March 10, 2022, Pazienza had been drinking wine and enjoying a picnic with her fiancé when they were asked to leave Chelsea Park as it was closing. Pazienza’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said that she had also had an argument with her fiancé, and this had contributed to her bad mood. He claimed that she was intoxicated with wine and marijuana when she left the park in an enraged state.
Pazienza, described as a wealthy socialite who stands to inherit her family’s cesspool drainage business, was caught by surveillance cameras crossing the road and cursing at 87-year-old Barbara Gustern, a grandmother and popular vocal coach whose former clients include Blondie’s Debbie Harry. Pazienza shoved Gustern to the ground and left her, bleeding from the head. Pazienza fled the scene but remained nearby for the next 20 minutes, before returning home. She later deleted her website and social media accounts after police issued video footage of the attack. She laid low with family members in Long Island for the next fortnight before finally turning herself into the police.
Her lawyer, Aidala, who has previously worked for Harvey Weinstein, has tried to claim discrimination against the heiress, saying that he did not believe she would have been charged with first-degree manslaughter were she not white, despite video footage showing her committing the attack that led to Gustern’s death in the hospital five days later. Others, who knew Pazienza before her trial, have described Pazienza as a bully, with one former classmate referring to her as being “pure trouble”.
Gustern’s relatives have described their dismay at the length of her prison sentence, with her grandson AJ Gustern telling reporters that he had very little sympathy for Pazienza and her family, adding that her actions were the result of bad parenting and allowing a child to do whatever she wanted.
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