Magen Fieramusca wiped away tears in a Travis County courtroom Thursday after a state district court judge sentenced her to 55 years in prison for the 2019 murder of Austin mother Heidi Broussard.
Broussard and her newborn baby disappeared from their Austin apartment in December 2019. A week later, Broussard’s body was found in the trunk of a car parked at the home where Fieramusca was living in northwest Harris County. The baby was safe and returned to her family.
According to investigators, Fieramusca presented Broussard’s baby as her own to her boyfriend.
Travis County Judge Selena Alvarenga told Fieramusca no sentence can change the fact that she destroyed an entire family, and that it’s “difficult if not impossible” to find justice in any sort of resolution to such a “horrendous crime.”
Broussard’s mother Tammy spoke directly to Fieramusca during the plea and sentencing hearing.
“We miss her dearly. She’s forever strong in the midst of all the people,” Tammy said. “She was just so much fun and just so full of life and now it’s been taken.”
Court documents indicate Fieramusca and Broussard were friends for years after meeting at a church camp. Fieramusca visited Broussard in Austin in the days after she gave birth, about two weeks before the kidnapping.
Prosecutors initially charged Fieramusca with capital murder, which meant she faced the possibility of life in prison without parole. She pleaded guilty to murder and will be eligible for parole after serving about half of her 55-year sentence.
The 37-year-old will also receive credit for more than three years already served.
“We’re really grateful to our law enforcement partners and to our prosecutors who helped win justice today and saved the family from potentially decades of post-trial litigation,” Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza said. “We are hopeful that the outcome today will bring some level of closure for the families and allow them to continue their healing process.”
Fieramusca’s defense attorney Brian Erskine wrote in a statement that both parties felt this was the best resolution to avoid possible appeals.
“After considerable discussion, in conjunction with significant compelling mitigation related to Ms. Fieramusca and the possible appellate issues related to the search of her residence, both parties feel that this is the appropriate resolution. I imagine many have questions that will never be adequately answered, nevertheless, I hope that this plea brings some closure to this family’s great loss,” Erskine wrote.
The sentence won’t change the Broussard family’s heartbreak.
“She loved beyond measure and she never gave up on anyone,” Tammy Broussard said. “This is something that I never imagined in my whole life.”