AUSTIN (KXAN) — A judge ruled evidence can be used in the trial of a woman accused of killing her best friend, Heidi Broussard, and kidnapping Broussard’s baby. The hearing Thursday determined the state can use evidence the Texas Rangers obtained when they entered a Houston home on Dec. 19, 2019 as part of an investigation into Broussard and her baby’s disappearance.
Magen Fieramusca’s lawyers filed a motion to suppress evidence arguing the Texas Rangers didn’t have probable cause to justify a warrantless entry of the home. Additionally, the defense argued that Texas Rangers violated Fieramusca’s constitutional rights by placing her in custody and continuing to communicate with her after she requested an attorney.
The state and defense presented their closing arguments in the hearing Thursday. In March, the judge heard arguments and evidence in the hearing over a period of two days.
The state argued there was “overwhelming evidence” beyond probable cause to justify the Rangers warrantless entry of the home, specifically citing the emergency doctrine necessary to protect and preserve human life. The state further claimed that Fieramusca’s rights were not violated as she was not formally in custody and that she voluntarily communicated with the Rangers.
The defense’s argument, “the end doesn’t justify the means.” The defense acknowledged that the rangers were ultimately right and the body of Broussard was found. However, the defense stated that this fact was not the basis at the time the decision to enter the home without a warrant was made. It was based on information the Rangers received indicating that the baby was in the home and in danger. The defense stated there was no evidence suggesting the baby was in danger, therefore the Rangers didn’t have probable cause.
Both sides concluded their closing arguments nearly an hour into the hearing Thursday morning.
Fieramusca faces capital murder, tampering with a corpse and two counts of kidnapping after Broussard, who had been missing for a week, was found dead in a car at that Houston home. The car was registered to Fieramusca, who was there at the time law enforcement arrived, according to testimony and video shown in court.
The judge determined law enforcement agencies were conducting a missing person’s search that led them to the Houston home. The judge ruled law enforcement entering the home without a warrant was justified because they had reasonable probable cause that a crime/kidnapping happened and that there was a newborn baby who was in imminent danger of serious injury.
The judge also considered whether information Fieramusca provided at the time could be used. She determined that it was reasonable to conclude that the circumstances constituted Fieramusca being in “custody,” but ruled that she understood her rights and knowingly waived them by continuing to voluntarily communicate with the officers.
Fieramusca’s next hearing is set for June 16.