Stein’s friends have said they have no memory of her ever making racist comments like the one Lowery allegedly talks about in her confession. This was, after all, the same woman who counted Jay-Z and Damon Dash as pals and clients. The pot-smoking in Lowery’s face also puzzles them. “She’d go into a different room to smoke,” a colleague says. “She did the kinds of things that a cigarette smoker would do around nonsmokers. Open windows, go into rooms. It might as well have been a cigarette.” But there is a possibility that Stein really wasn’t herself that day. Her older daughter, Samantha, has said that her mother’s medication could have caused even worse mood swings than Stein already famously had.
A grand jury voted to indict Lowery for second-degree murder last Wednesday. Her lawyer is fighting the arrest, claiming the confession was coerced. Some criminal-law experts say a confession like Lowery’s, brought in without a lawyer, could well be ruled inadmissible in court. Even the Stein family’s lawyer, Ed Hayes, has told reporters he thinks that’s possible. The family hopes the D.A. has more evidence—lab-test results from the crime scene, for instance. If not, police may well have found the culprit, they fear, only to lose her again.
Dozens had to be turned away from Linda Stein’s November 2 funeral at Riverside Memorial Chapel. Whoopi Goldberg made it in, as did Jann Wenner, Brett Ratner, Paul Shaffer, Clive Davis, Warner Music chairman Lyor Cohen, the rock-and-roll photographer Bob Gruen, Joey Ramone’s brother Mickey Leigh, and Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler. Elton John and Madonna issued statements mourning the loss. Everyone agreed that Linda would have adored the attention—even better, some whispered, than just dying of cancer.
Seymour Stein said in his eulogy that he’d called her cell five times after she died, just to hear her voice. Mandy laughed about stealing her VIP-access card to Nell’s as a teenager and then cried when she said her mother “opened up doors that we’d never dreamed would exist.” Samantha, speaking next, took a more strident turn, explaining that it took three hours to make her mother’s face presentable for her and Mandy to view one last time.
“I had to see what this bastard had done to her,” she said, channeling some of her mother’s rage. “We stood there and we promised, ‘Justice will be served.’ We won’t stop until justice is served.”
Standing in the doorway was Natavia Lowery, a week before her arrest, dressed in black, in tears.