TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A judge will wait to rule on a motion to suppress evidence in the case of a woman accused of killing her best friend, Heidi Broussard, kidnapping Broussard’s newborn baby and pretending it was her own.
Magen Fieramusca’s attorneys filed that motion on the basis that Texas Rangers entered a Houston home on Dec. 19, 2019, at 1:17 p.m. without a warrant. They argue the Texas Rangers didn’t have probable cause to enter the home at that time. A warrant was eventually issued later that day, a little after 8:30 p.m.
Fieramusca faces charges of capital murder, tampering with a corpse and two counts of kidnapping after her best friend went missing and a week later was found dead in a car at that Houston-area home. The car was registered to Fieramusca, who was there at the time law enforcement arrived, according to testimony and video shown in court.
Broussard’s baby, Margo Carey, was also found inside the home unharmed. She was roughly a month old at the time.
A recording of an interview with Fieramusca’s ex-boyfriend played for the court Thursday indicated Fieramusca had told her ex-boyfriend the baby was theirs.
The first witness from the state Friday morning was a trooper who told the state he was coordinating with the FBI early in the case and would later become the first member of law enforcement to make contact with the then-missing baby.
Eric Lopez said the FBI, along with local and state law enforcement, gathered in a nearby parking lot and were surveilling the Houston-area house involved. He detailed how surveillance indicated Fieramusca went to the backyard, leaving the baby inside the home, which was when they decided it was safest to arrive.
Video shown by the defense from an FBI surveillance plane showed Fieramusca was still in the backyard when law enforcement arrived.
Lopez said shortly after arriving he hopped the fence to get access to the back of the house. He told the state he jumped the fence because Fieramusca requested she be allowed to go back inside to meet law enforcement in the front, instead of opening a rear gate for them, saying he was worried if she went back to the baby “she would kill it.”
“The reason I jumped over the fence was because there was a kidnapped baby inside this house,” he later told the defense when they cross-examined him.
The trooper said after jumping the fence he went to the rear door of the house and eventually entered to find the missing baby. He detailed sweeping the house for threats to law enforcement, leaving the baby with a member of victim services and the FBI and then leaving the house.
He said he did not search for evidence until a search warrant was signed — but that was the main line of questioning from the defense team, which is working to show a judge law enforcement searched the home and gathered evidence before they were legally allowed to.
The defense at one point asked Lopez to read the time of the search warrant’s signing: 8:53 p.m. They then asked Lopez if it would have been dark outside at that time. Lopez agreed, it would be dark outside. They proceeded to pull up a photo that was taken from the backyard of the home, of the car where Broussard’s body would later be found, when it was light outside.
Lopez said he was indeed the one who took that photo.
The next witness, and the witness that was left on the stand before the court broke for lunch, was Daron Parker, a Texas Ranger. Parker was one of the first to make contact with Fieramusca as law enforcement approached the Houston suburb home, he said.
He was also assigned to stand with Fieramusca between the time law enforcement made contact with her until roughly eight hours later, when someone from the Austin Police Department took over. Parker had an audio recording device on him which recorded that roughly eight-hour interaction, he testified.
The state had Parker go over his conversations with Fieramusca during that time. He detailed giving a Miranda warning to her, telling her that law enforcement were waiting on a search warrant, asking her questions about the baby, among other questions. Parker also noted most of his conversation with Fieramusca was small talk.
The defense grilled Parker about whether or not Fieramusca was under arrest during the time he was with her, having him read from unofficial transcripts.
“Would you feel free to leave?” the defense asked multiple times. Parker finally said yes, he believes one could leave. The defense then asked what would have happened if Fieramusca did get up and try to leave.
“I would have stopped her,” he said.
Closing arguments and a ruling will be made on April 28 at 9 a.m.
Thursday morning, Fieramusca’s defense requested a motion to suppress evidence because they say a warrant was not issued before law enforcement entered the home.
The burden then shifted to the state to establish why there was probable cause to enter the home without one.
The state cited three exceptions justifying the search and seizure of the home at that time: 1) law enforcement isn’t required to show probable cause when action is immediately necessary to protect human life, 2) there was an objective standard of reasonableness to enter, given the facts and circumstances of the case and 3) consent was given by someone authorized to provide consent, allowing Texas Rangers to enter the home without a warrant.
The state’s first witness was the lead detective on the case and is now a sergeant. The court also heard an audio recording of Fieramusca’s ex-boyfriend, Chris Green’s interviews with Texas Rangers.
You can read more in-depth on Thursday’s proceedings in this article.
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