An ex-con who strangled her housemate in Beaumont last year pleaded guilty this week to second-degree murder.
During a trial status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Wednesday, the prosecution and defense notified Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez that a plea agreement had been reached in the case.
Under the deal, Vanessa Kathleen Fierro, 31, admitted taking the life of Elizabeth Asselin on Feb. 28, 2013, as well as being a one-strike felon who served time less than five years ago.
Hernandez scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 26. The plea agreement stipulates a sentence of 30 years to life in prison.
Fierro and Asselin, who had been sharing a house in the 200 block of West Seventh Street for several months, got into an argument that turned physical, with the defendant ultimately choking the 44-year-old victim to death, according to prosecutors.
Afterward, Fierro sought help from a friend, 37-year-old Tanita Marie Baker, who invited the defendant to stay in her Simi Valley home. Beaumont and Simi Valley police officers arrested both women at the Stowe Street residence less than a week later.
Baker pleaded guilty last year to being an accessory to a felony and was sentenced to 16 months probation.
According to court records, Fierro has prior convictions for assault with a deadly weapon and burglary.
— City News Service.