A Beaumont woman who strangled her housemate during a rage was sentenced Thursday to 30 years to life in prison.
Vanessa Kathleen Fierro, 31, killed 44-year-old Elizabeth Asselin in February 2013.
Fierro pleaded guilty in April to second-degree murder and being a multi- strike felon who served time in prison within the last five years.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez certified the plea agreement today and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense. However, the judge suspended Fierro's transfer to state prison until a separate case is resolved.
The defendant also is charged with assault resulting in great bodily injury for slicing open a fellow inmate's arm during a June 2 argument at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. Hernandez scheduled a status hearing in that case for July 9.
Fierro remains held without bail at the jail.
According to prosecutors, Fierro and Asselin had been sharing a house in the 200 block of West Seventh Street for several months prior to the deadly attack on Feb. 28, 2013. Witnesses said the two women had a tumultuous relationship.
The defendant and victim got into an argument that culminated in Fierro beating and ultimately choking Asselin to death, according to investigators.
After the murder, 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