After her best friend became her enemy, Natavia Lowery beat Linda Stein on the back of her head until she was dead, according to the videotaped confession played for jurors Thursday in court.
“How do you go from, like, a best friend,” Ms. Lowery asked of her boss, real estate broker Ms. Stein, “to an enemy?”
On the tape, she recalled a warm relationship that went suddenly bad on the afternoon of Oct. 29, 2007, when Stein was smoking marijuana and checking emails and began swearing and yelling racist remarks at her assistant.
“What, you stuck on stupid or something?” Ms. Lowery repeated Stein’s words, which she said were the breaking point.
She said she beat the 62-year-old star Douglas Elliman broker more than six times with a yoga stick, and then went about her day as usual, including running errands and buying Tasti D-lite. But when she returned to the Fifth Avenue office of Douglas Elliman without her boss, she faced what she’d done.
“I felt sorry. Really sorry,” she said. “I stayed in a bad mood for a little while. I prayed. God, what’s going on with me?”
Ms. Lowery’s confession is a crucial piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case. No fingerprint or DNA traces were found in the apartment at 965 Fifth where Stein lived or on Ms. Lowery’s clothing.
Throughout the one-and-a-half-hour tape, Ms. Lowery repeated that she was not herself those few minutes. She occasionally wiped tears from her eyes, but generally seemed composed. “I went back to the apartment and I just wanted [Stein] to come to the door,” she said. “I wanted to hear her voice. But she didn’t.
“I just wanted to call somebody,” she said in the video. “Say something.” But she didn’t talk to anyone about what may have happened that day, until 10 days later when she confessed to police at the 7th Precinct in Lower Manhattan.
Ms. Lowery, 28, has since recanted the confession, saying police pressured her into saying she killed Stein. By the time the videotaped confession began around 7:45 a.m., Ms. Lowery had been sitting or lying on a bench in a windowless cinderblock room for 14 hours.
On cross-examination, defense attorney John Christie tried to get Detective Antonio Rivera to admit he proposed crucial details about the murder to Ms. Lowery.”Did you suggest to Ms. Lowery,” asked Mr. Christie, “that Linda Stein was blowing marijuana in her face so she killed her?”
Detective Rivera calmly denied all suggestions the confession was coerced.
Ms. Lowery is on trial for killing her boss, Linda Stein, a real estate broker to celebrity clients. Prosecutors say she changed details of her confession to hide that she was also stealing thousands of dollars from her boss. Prosecutors spent most of this week interviewing detectives on the case, and plan to continue next week.