The personal assistant to a multimillionaire real-estate agent and punk-rock pioneer was arrested Friday after confessing that she fatally...
NEW YORK — The personal assistant to a multimillionaire real-estate agent and punk-rock pioneer was arrested Friday after confessing that she fatally beat her boss with a yoga stick, claiming the boss pushed her over the edge by blowing marijuana smoke in her face and making a racially charged comment, police said.
Natavia Lowery, 26, was charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Linda Stein, a former co-manager of the Ramones who was found facedown in blood inside her $3 million Fifth Avenue apartment, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Stein, 62, was white. Lowery is black.
Stein was smashed a half-dozen times in the head and neck with a 4-pound weighted yoga stick typically used for stretching exercises. Lowery was captured on a surveillance tape leaving Stein’s building shortly after the Oct. 30 assault, Kelly said.
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A judge Friday ordered Lowery held without bail.
Defense lawyer Gilbert Parris said at Lowery’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court that the confession should be inadmissible because he had previously told police she was not to be interviewed if he was not present.
Stein, credited with bringing the Ramones to England, became known as the “Realtor to the Stars” after launching a second career in real estate. Her two jobs landed her a high-profile clientele, including many musicians and other celebrities such as Steven Spielberg and Angelina Jolie.
Elton John was the godfather to her daughter Mandy, who discovered Stein’s body on the living-room floor.
Lowery told police she was subjected to profane and derogatory comments from Stein as they worked in the real-estate agent’s apartment that morning. Lowery said she snapped while retrieving an e-mail from Stein’s computer. Stein, telling her to hurry and waving the yoga bar in her face, made a disparaging remark about black people and blew marijuana smoke in her face, Lowery told detectives.
Lowery then snatched the stick from Stein’s hands and battered the businesswoman until she collapsed, according to police. No weapon was recovered, but the videotape showed the suspect carrying something as she exited Stein’s building, Kelly said.
Lowery also took Stein’s debit card and went to an automated teller machine, where she withdrew $800, Assistant District Attorney Shanda Strain said at the arraignment.
Lowery began working for Stein about four months ago, handling chores, clerical work and computer duties, Kelly said.
“She was brand-new,” said Danny Fields, who was Stein’s managerial partner with the Ramones.
The loud, profane and brassy Stein was a well-known New York figure, moving easily between the seedy scene at CBGB and the cutthroat world of Manhattan real estate. She once was married to Seymour Stein, the former president of Sire Records, the launching pad for the Talking Heads, Madonna and other big music acts.
Among those who attended her Nov. 2 funeral were Whoopi Goldberg, renowned record executive Clive Davis, band leader Paul Shaffer of “Late Show With David Letterman” and Trudie Styler, Sting’s wife.
Material from Newsday
is included in this report.