The charges stem from the death of Barbara Maier Gustern, a Broadway vocal trainer who, according to police, was pushed from behind by a woman on the night of March 10 as she stood outside her apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Lauren Pazienza, the accused woman, was put on trial Tuesday afternoon. Judge Michael Gaffey set Pazienza’s bail at $ 500,000. She did not say a prayer, according to Naomi Puzzello and Caitlyn Fowles, spokesmen for the Manhattan DA’s Office.
CNN has contacted Pazienza’s lawyer, Arthur Aidala, for a comment.
Prosecutors said Pazienza crossed the street in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, allegedly calling Gustern a derogatory name and pressuring her “as hard as [Gustern] had ever been hit in her life. “There was” no apparent cause “to the alleged attack, the criminal complaint said.
An eyewitness to the assault took Gustern into the lobby of her apartment building, according to Associate District Attorney Justin McNabney. Emergency Medical Services transported her to the hospital, where she later died March 15 after being removed from lifesaving, McNabney said.
The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner concluded that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the criminal complaint.
After the attack, surveillance footage appeared to show that Pazienza allegedly stayed in the area for at least 20 minutes, McNabney said. Video appears to show her allegedly witnessing the ambulance arrive at Gustern’s apartment about 13 minutes after the attack, he said.
Prosecutors accuse Pazienza of trying to evade arrest for the attack. To avoid arrest, Pazienza allegedly deleted her social media and wedding website, even though she had set a wedding date for June, according to McNabney.
She also reportedly left New York City, went to her parents’ house on Long Island and stopped using her cell phone, but instead kept it with her aunt to avoid discovery, McNabney said.
An anonymous tip revealed that Pazienza was on Long Island with her parents, but when police arrived at their home, Pazienza’s father said she was not home, McNabney said.
Pazienza’s lawyer later called police and made sure Pazienza reported on Tuesday after evading arrest for nearly two weeks, McNabney said.
CNN’s Liam Reilly, Eric Levenson and Laura Ly contributed to this report.