A judge denied bail Wednesday for a woman accused of beating real estate agent and punk rock pioneer Linda Stein to death but said she will permit a hearing on whether the suspect’s confession was obtained legally.
State Supreme Court Justice Micki Scherer issued her rulings after a bail application from defendant Natavia Lowery’s lawyer, Ronald Kuby, while about 100 people wearing T-shirts that read “Justice for Natavia” filled the courtroom.
Lowery, 26, is charged with beating Stein, 61, with a heavy stick at her $3 million Manhattan apartment around 12:45 p.m. on Oct. 30. Surveillance camera tapes show Lowery leaving the building around 1:15 p.m., but Stein’s daughter, Samantha Wells, has told police she spoke to her mother around 2 p.m.
Stein, once a co-manager of the rock group the Ramones, also was a real estate agent whose deals with clients who included Sting, Steven Spielberg and other show business figures earned her the nickname Realtor to the Stars. She was found face down in a pool of blood in her apartment around 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 30. She had scalp cuts and a fractured skull.
Lowery faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.
Kuby argued that new evidence, male DNA found at the scene of Stein’s slaying, justified bail for Lowery, Stein’s personal assistant for about three months. The judge disagreed.
Instead of trying to determine who left the male DNA, Kuby said, prosecutors downplayed its importance. He said the most likely explanation for the presence of the DNA is that a male killer washed his hands in Stein’s sink after the attack.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon countered that the presence of male DNA meant only that “a man may have touched Linda Stein’s sink at some time while in that apartment.”
As for Kuby’s charge that police fed Lowery her confession, Illuzzi-Orbon said the defendant gave detectives information they had not known. Lowery’s withdrawal of $800 with Stein’s automated teller machine card “was a fact we did not know until Ms. Lowery was kind enough to let us know,” the prosecutor said.
Kuby also said no blood was on Lowery’s clothes, despite blood spatters inside Stein’s Fifth Avenue apartment.
But Illuzzi-Orbon said the “horribly violent battering” of Stein did not necessarily mean that blood had flown all over the room.
The judge also said she will allow Lowery to see some of Stein’s credit card records. Kuby said he asked for those records because Lowery, as Stein’s personal assistant, was authorized to make credit card purchases on her employer’s behalf.
Illuzzi-Orbon said Lowery, who is 5 months pregnant, had been stealing from Stein and apparently was worried that she would find out.
The judge scheduled Lowery’s next court appearance for April 24 but did not schedule a date for the hearing on the confession.
- 'I would never': Rapper Too Short denies rape accusations made against him in Los Angeles
- Judge denies New Mexico GOP’s request to halt absentee votes
- Hollywood star Bill Cosby gets 3 to 10 years in prison for sex assault, denied bail
- Judge denies ex-speaker’s bid to relax home confinement
- Federal judge denies bid to restore 98,000 voters in U.S. state of Georgia
- Oakland judge denies release of alleged Charlottesville rioter, white supremacist
- Mike Erwin, the 19th JDC's longest serving judge in Baton Rouge, leaving bench
- Australia's youngest killer goes on extraordinary crime spree before finally being stopped by police after a high speed chase in a stolen BMW
- Daryaganj violence: Police opposes bail plea of 9 accused, Delhi court order on Dec 28
- A North Carolina paramedic is accused of killing his wife with eye drops