A Texas woman has been sentenced to 55 years behind bars for strangling her friend to death and abducting the woman’s newborn baby as her own, KXAN-TV reports.
On Thursday, 37-year-old Magen Fieramusca pleaded guilty to murdering 33-year-old Heidi Broussard, who had considered the killer a friend before the horrific attack.
Authorities alleged a motive for the attack was “maternal desire,” according to the television station.
On December 12, 2019, Fieramusca visited Broussard at a south Austin apartment and then strangled her with a dog leash. Fieramusca is said to have put Broussard’s body in her trunk before driving to a former boyfriend’s home in the Houston area with the 3-week-old baby, asserting she was the child’s mother.
Fieramusca and Broussard had met about 10 years earlier at a church camp and became friends. The pair were allegedly so close that Fieramusca once had a key for Broussard’s apartment, and the women reportedly talked about being pregnant together and potentially giving birth on the same day, according to the Associated Press.
Broussard’s fiancé told police that she told him days before the abduction that Fieramusca had birthed a daughter, but there were no images of the baby.
Fieramusca reportedly provided inconsistent statements to investigators about her whereabouts on the day of the kidnapping. She allegedly told a Texas Ranger that she was with family at a beach, but later told that same investigator she had been in labor and gave birth.
As part of the plea, a capital murder charge was reduced to first-degree murder and Fieramusca waived her right to appeal.
Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said in a statement that he hopes the sentence will help the victims’ families heal.
“This outcome will save the families from having to endure the difficult post-conviction litigation process,” Garza said, according to FOX 7 Austin. “We are grateful to our prosecutors and law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly on this case and secured justice for the victim’s families and our community.”
Heidi Broussard’s mother, Tammy Broussard, said in court on Thursday that her daughter is “forever strong in the midst of all the people’s lives she touched. And she’ll live on forever,” according to FOX 7 Austin.
Tammy Broussard added: “This is something I never imagined in my whole life, me and my husband. She was just so much fun and so full of life, and now it’s been taken from her.”
In handing down the sentence, Judge Selena Alvarenga said Fieramusca the prison sentence alone is not enough for true justice.
“I think it is difficult, if not impossible to find justice and any sort of resolution to this horrendous crime. Ms. Fieramusca, the fact is that by your actions you have deprived an innocent child, an innocent baby, the opportunity of growing up with her mother next to her,” Alvarenga said, according to FOX 7 Austin.
“You have destroyed an entire family. And no matter what the sentence, no matter how long, no matter how harsh, nothing can change that, nothing can make this family whole again.”
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[Feature Photo: Megan Fieramusca/Police Handout & Heidi Broussard & Margo/Handout]