Savage PA killed mum-of-two after stealing $30,000 – and getting found out...
On 30 October 2007, US estate agent to the stars Linda Stein, 62, confronted her personal assistant Natavia Lowery, 26, about $30,000 that had gone missing.
But, instead of holding her hands up to the theft, Natavia bludgeoned her boss to death before calmly walking away…
What petite Linda Stein lacked in stature she made up for in prowess.
Thanks to her determination, she went from being a schoolteacher from the Bronx, New York, to managing famous rock band The Ramones.
After earning a name for herself on the punk scene of the 1970s, she later branched out from music to real estate.
But, not content with selling homes to the average person, Linda, 62, launched a career selling multi-million-dollar mansions to the likes of Sting, Madonna, and other A-listers.
She was known in the industry as strong-willed, stubborn and hugely successful.
She didn’t even let raising two daughters or a battle with breast cancer stall her career.
When Linda needed a new personal assistant, Natavia Lowery, 26, showed up for interview, and the two hit it off.
Like Linda, Natavia was a woman with ambition.
She had a good, Catholic education before achieving a Business degree.
But she decided the easiest way to succeed was to cheat, lie and steal.
In 2006, she was sued for not paying $515 rent (around £400), and was accused of stealing from a church where she worked.
Later that year, she was accused of using a friend’s details to run up a $300 phone bill and $300 on a credit card (a total of around £500).
She was arrested and charged with misdemeanour, identity theft and petty larceny, but never convicted of a crime.
Months later, in July 2007, she began working as Linda’s PA, dealing with paperwork, and personal tasks like washing Linda’s hair and going with her on walks.
The pair were said to get along well. But greedy Natavia, who’d recently found out she was pregnant, was secretly stealing from her boss to repay mounting debts.
Soon, Linda Stein noticed $30,000 (around £20,000) had disappeared – and realised Natavia was responsible.
So, on the afternoon of 30 October 2007, feisty Linda confronted Natavia. But things didn’t go the way she’d planned. Instead of admitting her guilt, Natavia flew off the handle.
The women quickly got into a blazing row. According to Natavia, Linda was shouting and screaming, allegedly blew marijuana smoke in her face, and threatened her with a 3ft metal exercise bar.
Natavia said her own ‘mind went into shutdown mode’.
Inside the Upper East Side penthouse apartment, she wrestled the metal bar from Linda Stein and beat her with it around 25 times, until Linda’s body lay lifeless.
‘I called her name so many times… My intention was not to hurt her…not to kill her… It was like, “Leave me alone!”’ Natavia explained.
Yet, despite all this, Natavia failed to call for help. Instead, she turned Linda’s trousers inside-out to hide the blood, and stole Linda’s debit card before leaving and withdrawing $800 cash (around £600).
Hours later, Linda Stein’s daughter Mandy Stein, 35, went to the apartment to look for her mum, and was confronted by the horrific scene of her bludgeoned body, lying on the floor.
After her arrest, Natavia Lowery told police about how she’d killed Linda. However, in court, she insisted she wasn’t guilty.
The jury took five hours to convict Lowery of the murder, and she was handed the maximum sentence of 25 years to life, plus up to seven years for stealing the money.
Justice Richard Carruthers recommended Lowery is never given parole, saying, ‘Ms Lowery acted with an uncommon and almost inhuman degree of coolness and calculation.’
Lowery, whose baby was born in jail while she awaited trial, vowed to fight for appeal…