The death of Hattie Carroll in reverse

I missed in yesterday’s New York Post, but a friend by chance just pointed out to me, a story about the public playing of Natavia Lowery’s recorded confession in the October 2007 murder of “Realtor to the Stars” Linda Stein, for whom Lowery had been working for four months as personal assistant at the time of the murder. According to Lowery’s statement, Stein, who as a well-to-do New York Jew was probably very liberal, had repeatedly racially insulted her and mistreated her, including blowing marijuana smoke into her face. Then, when Stein offered to buy her lunch one day, and Lowery said she could buy her own lunch, Stein retorted, “That’s the first time I hear somebody black saves their money.” On this, Lowery became so enraged she struck Stein with a wooden, weighted yoga stick, and then continued to beat the prone woman in the face and neck until she was dead.

However, as a commenter pointed out at VFR at the time of Lowery’s arrest in November 2007, given Lowery’s record of identity theft, which Stein didn’t know about when she hired her, far more likely than Lowery’s racial insult story is that Stein discovered Lowery stealing from her, an altercation ensued, and Lowery killed her.

So it never rains but it pours. Just last night I wrote about the true account of Hattie Carroll’s death in Baltimore in 1963 and how it differed from Bob Dylan’s 1964 song, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (lyrics, recording). Dylan made it sound as though the then 24-year-old William Zantzinger, who died this past week at age 69, deliberately hurled a cane through the air striking and killing Hattie, whereas in fact the extremely drunken Zantzinger called Hattie a “nigger” and struck her once on the shoulder, causing no physical injury, but upsetting her so much she collapsed shortly afterward and died the next morning of a brain hemorrage.

The symmetry or asymmetry between the two incidents is unreal. In 1963, a wealthy white Southern man racially insulted a black barmaid and hit her once on the shoulder with a toy cane, but was falsely represented in a famous song as having deliberately killed her with the cane. In 2007, a black personal assistant beat her wealthy white Jewish employer to death with a wooden yoga stick, probably doing it because her employer had discovered her stealing money from her, but falsely telling police that she did it because her employer had repeatedly racially insulted her.

Would Dylan do a song on this?

Natavia Lowery killed rich Linda Stein
With a wood yoga stick that she beat her head in with
In the East Side apartment where Stein employed Lowery
And the cops investigated Stein’s social circle
And though Stein’s family members said Lowery was innocent
The cops found out about Lowery’s past thieveries
Which Stein didn’t know of when she hired Lowery
She helped Lowery out and got killed for her trouble.

But you who feel guilty about race
And criticize whites’ fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

Below is yesterday’s New York Post story, and below that the more detailed New York Daily News story from November 2007.


January 9, 2009

Realtor to the stars Linda Stein had it coming, suspect Natavia Lowery said in a chilling murder confession played publicly for the first time yesterday.

She had to wash Stein’s hair and endure her foul language and racial slurs every day, the personal assistant told prosecutors in the dramatic video.

Then, on an October 2007 morning, as Stein handled a $30 million real-estate deal, the high-powered broker to Madonna, Sting and Steven Spielberg outdid herself, Lowery said.

Stein was cursing like a sailor, puffing pot like a locomotive and waving around a wooden yoga stick, Lowery said.

And when Stein offered to buy Lowery lunch, and Lowery protested that she had her own money, Stein answered, “That’s the first time I hear somebody black saves their money,” Lowery claimed.

That struck a nerve worse than any previous abuse, Lowery said.

“She had never, never, never treated me like this!” Lowery fumed to prosecutors in the 90-minute confession.

“So I snatched [the stick] from her. So I took it and I like hit her with it.”

“After the first time, she fell?” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon asked.

“Yes,” a now-sniffling Lowery answered, admitting she continued striking the prone and dying woman.

“I wasn’t myself,” Lowery said. “I was mad … … I felt like she was my worst enemy.”

Here is the New York Daily News’ account on Lowery’s arrest and confession in November 2007:

Friday, November 9th 2007, 8:36 PM

[Caption: Police escort Natavia Lowry out of the 7th Precinct in Manhattan, where she was charged with second-degree murder.]

[Caption: Linda Stein at a benefit for breast cancer research in 2004. Her passionate life was cut short by her violent death.]

Lowry, Stein’s personal assistant, confessed in the brutal beating of her boss.

A personal assistant to punk pioneer and “Realtor to the Stars” Linda Stein was arrested Friday after police said she confessed to the grisly beating death of her boss.

Natavia Lowery, 26, was nabbed in her Brooklyn apartment and taken to the 7th Precinct in Manhattan, where she was charged with second-degree murder.

Stein, whose real estate clients included A-list celebrities such as Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Sting and Steven Spielberg, was discovered dead on Oct. 30 in her posh 5th Avenue apartment.

Police said Lowery told them she flew into a rage after Stein subjected her to racist slurs and blew marijuana smoke in her face.

Lowery said she snapped, grabbed a weighted “yoga stick” used for stretching exercises from her boss and struck the older woman on the face and neck a half-dozen times, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told an afternoon press conference.

Lowery was captured on a surveillance camera leaving the building not long after the fatal assault, police said. The murder weapon was not recovered, but the videotape showed Lowery carrying something from the building.

Stein’s vicious killing touched off an investigation in which 60 people were questioned, including many in Stein’s inner circle, according to police.

An Italian former lover, upscale pot dealers and a former assistant described as a handsome Romeo type, as well as contractors who were working on the roof of her swanky building on the Upper East Side, were all contacted by detectives.

Police were finally led to Lowery, who had started working for Stein four months earlier and whose previous brushes with the law had been unknown to her new employer, several friends and relatives said.

Sources said Stein hired Lowery in early summer after firing her previous personal assistant. Stein, an old-school style broker, conducted most of her business through personal contacts and lunch and dinner meetings.

Lowery did the computer work, set up meetings and appointments, and handled some of the financial details. Lowery was arrested in Brooklyn last December on misdemeanor identity theft charges.

Prosecutors said she stole the identity of a high school friend to set up $300 credit lines at T-Mobile and Target and used the fake identity to buy thousands of dollars in furniture in Virginia Beach.

Police questioned Lowery soon after the murder but released her. Some of Lowery’s relatives insisted she was innocent and had cooperated with police.

The feisty Stein had been on a high after battling back from cancer, and was about to close a major real estate deal.

She was divorced from Seymour Stein, a former president of Sire Records, and was credited with helping launch the punk rock movement in England when she helped bring the Ramones there for their seminal July 4, 1976, concert.

Plans are in the works to have Elton John—who is godfather to Stein’s daughter, Mandy—perform at a memorial concert for Stein next year. Proceeds will go toward cancer research.

This entry is being added to “Black and other nonwhite violence against whites: a grim collection.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 10, 2009 05:38 PM | Send

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