Linda Stein’s Assistant In Custody After ‘Implicating Herself’ in Broker’s Murder (UPDATED)

According to news reports this morning, Brooklynite Natavia Lowery, star broker Linda Stein‘s personal assistant, and the last to speak with her before the murder, is in custody.

An NYPD spokesman said charges are still pending, but that Ms. Lowery "made statements implicating herself" in Stein’s death.

The medical examiner “says she died of multiple skull fractures, and so we’re going to charge that the death occurred because the defendant hit her six or seven times in the head with a hard object," Barbara Thompson, director of communications for the District Attorney’s office, told The Observer.

She said second-degree murder charges will be brought this afternoon.

“It was that Linda just kept yelling at her, over everything," a law enforcement official told The New York Times today by way of explaining a motive. "They fought. It was like a continuous thing, like a buildup.”

Friends of Stein said they didn’t know of any complaints worse than a lack of confidence in Ms. Lowery’s computer skills.

"She must have been so overwhelmed with anger, because there was no reasonable expectation that she could have gotten away with this," the Stein family lawyer, Ed Hayes, told The Observer this morning. "They arrested her six days later.

"I was in homicide in the Bronx at the height of the crime-wave, I can never remember one woman beating another to death," Mr. Hayes said. "Drug addicts, impoverished, terrible background, I’ve never seen that. I’ve seen them stabbed to death, pushed under a car, I’ve seen them shoot each other, or burn another woman! I’ve never seen one woman beat a woman to death. It’s not easy beating someone to death, it takes a lot of work, especially for a woman. Unless there’s something unusual about her, you don’t have the upper body strength. You have to keep banging away.

"She doesn’t appear to be a junkie; she doesn’t appear to be a crack-head," he said. "All of a sudden she beats somebody to death?"

The assistant was arrested this morning. And here’s this: The assistant, apparently trusted with the Social Security numbers and bank account info of Stein’s clients, was charged last December with identity theft. Those charges were dropped.

“She had a nice smile, she was an attractive black girl. She seemed very nice,” the broker Jerry Miller, one of Stein’s neighbors, told The Observer. In spring 2002, Ms. Lowery was a member of North Carolina State University’s Black Finesse Modeling Troupe, according to the group’s Web site.

We’ll be updating the story throughout the day so check back to this spot for more.