Info casts doubt on Linda Stein murder confession

No marijuana found in
February 11, 2008 4:25:39 PM PST
There is new information Monday in the murder of Linda Stein, also known as the Realtor to the Stars. It is raising new questions about whether the woman already in custody, Stein's former personal assistant, is really behind her murder.

Eyewitness News reporter Nina Pineda has more.

The 26-year-old accused of bludgeoning Linda Stein to death told police in both a videotaped and written confession that she was angered because the realtor blew smoke in her face.

Natavia Lowery said her boss was smoking pot and blowing the some in her face several times, explaining why she then grabbed a stick and hit Stein with it over the head.

But toxicology tests on Stein's body showed no trace of marijuana in her system.

"There was no marijuana smoke," Lowery's attorney, Rob Kuby, said. "There was no marijuana. There was no yoga stick. They don't have a murder weapon. There was no murder weapon found in the closet. She made it up. And the other thing that she made up was that she was the killer. None of this was true."

The prosecution believes Lowery killed Stein after she was caught stealing from the celebrity realtor's bank accounts. Officials say Lowery waived her right to counsel before admitting to the murder.

The bulk of the case against the former assistant rests on her confessions, which Kuby is trying to have thrown out because Lowery had no attorney with her. The autopsy results, he believes, show that Lowery was coerced to make up a story.

Nina: "So the marijuana smoke, being dizzy, being annoyed, wanting to beat her up and not kill her, everything we saw on the tape?"
Kuby: "None of it was true. That's what people do when they're locked in interrogation rooms and deprived of counsel and told the only way you're getting out is to confess."

Lowery confessed she shattered Stein's skull. She is the only suspect prosecutors have. But Kuby believes there will be more evidence forthcoming, some of it relating to the time frame Lowery is seen leaving the Fifth Avenue apartment.

It is evidence that he believes will further prove the young woman on Riker's Island charged with this brutal murder is not the one who killed Linda Stein.