Her lawyers, John Esposito and John Leventhal, argued that Ms. Pazienza had demonstrated that she would not flee by appearing in court, and said that the $500,000 bail set by a different judge this year and paid by her friends and family was more than enough to ensure her return to court.
Mr. Esposito also argued that the manslaughter charge was a “stretch,” adding that Ms. Pazienza was “receiving counseling and addressing various issues.”
But the judge, Felicia A. Mennin, was not convinced, and ordered Ms. Pazienza to be held without bail.
Upon that order, a friend and student of Ms. Gustern’s who was sitting in the courtroom, Morgan Jenness, banged her fist on a court bench in approval. Outside the courtroom after, Ms. Jenness, 65, said that the order represented a “first step to justice.”
Ms. Gustern was a well-known and well-respected vocal coach who had worked with Debbie Harry, the lead singer of Blondie, and Broadway singers, including the cast of the 2019 revival of “Oklahoma.”
Ms. Jenness said that she had begun taking voice lessons from the coach about five years ago, and that Ms. Gustern, even at 87, had more energy than any of her students. She loved life, Ms. Jenness said, and “would never have said anything nasty to anyone.”
“The fact that someone ran across the street to push her because they had to take it out on somebody is sad,” she said. “I doubt that she thought that she would kill her, but there are consequences. You can’t just have temper tantrums because the world doesn’t go your way.”
Source: NY Times