Hedda: I’ll Flee Once Evil Joel Gets Sprung
NY Post/May 23, 2004
By Marianne Garvey
Hedda Nussbaum – the ex-lover of infamous child killer and abuser Joel Steinberg – will go into hiding when he’s released from prison within weeks.
After serving 16 years at an upstate prison, Steinberg, now 62, will walk free – but Nussbaum told The Post she can never forget her past life or the brutal slaying of their illegally adopted 6-year-old daughter, Lisa Steinberg.
Nussbaum, now 61, who was in a relationship with Steinberg for 12 years, said she will move in two weeks to “someplace warm in America” because she feels there’s a “very good chance” he will attempt to contact her.
“I’m not his puppet any longer and I’m taking precautions against him finding me,” Nussbaum said.
For the past six years, she’s worked as a paralegal at My Sister’s Place in White Plains, and wrote letters and petitions opposing his release.
Steinberg’s brutal abuse shocked the nation in November of 1987.
The former lawyer, who lived with Nussbaum and little Lisa in Greenwich Village, regularly beat the two and knocked Lisa unconscious, killing her after one beating because he claimed she was “staring” at him.
Nussbaum also suffered from Joel’s abuse regularly and has had plastic surgery to mend her nose, which he broke five times during severe beatings.
During the height of the scandal, Nussbaum was accused of being a co-conspirator in Lisa’s death, but was granted immunity in return for her testimony against Steinberg.
“Ten months prior to the trial in 1988, I was an inpatient at Four Winds hospital in Westchester, getting ready to testify,” Nussbaum said. “I was to have no contact with Joel whatsoever – and haven’t ever since.”
In December 1988, Nussbaum took the stand to testify against Steinberg.
Steinberg was convicted of first-degree manslaughter and sentenced to eight to 25 years. He will be sprung June 30 from the Southport Correctional Facility in Chemung County, due to a good behavior record.
Prison officials said Steinberg was rejecting requests to be interviewed before his release.
Nussbaum says she still refers to herself as Lisa’s mother and remembers her every day.
Once in a while, she visits Lisa’s grave at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Westchester. A painting by Lisa hangs in her office.
“It leaves a hole in my heart, missing Lisa,” Nussbaum said. “She’d be 23 years old today, but she’ll always be a little girl to me.”
In addition to Lisa, Steinberg and Nussbaum also had an adopted son, Mitchell, who was taken away and reunited with his birth mother after Steinberg’s arrest.
“I miss Mitchell very much but his birth mother is against me having a relationship with him,” Nussbaum said. “I think about him every day.”
As for her past life with Steinberg, Nussbaum said she has no contact whatsoever with anyone who ever knew him and that she never plans to.
“One condition of his parole is that he never try to contact me,” she said.
“I want nothing to do with him. He might try to get in touch with me, but I’m not listed [in the phone book] and no one knows where I’m going except my family.”