Mom Sentenced In Adopted Son's Death

Date: 2004-08-31

Mom Sentenced In Adopted Son's Death

Braintree Woman Pleads Guilty

POSTED: 5:32 pm EDT August 31, 2004
UPDATED: 6:01 pm EDT August 31, 2004

BOSTON -- A Braintree, Mass., mother charged with beating her adopted son to death took responsibility for the crime Tuesday.

NewsCenter 5's Rhondella Richardson reported that two years after the young boy's death, Natalia Higier pleaded guilty.

"I plea guilty because it was poor judgment, poor judgment to play this game with him," Higier said.

For the first time, Higier, 49, admitted she's guilty of involuntary manslaughter. For the first time she explained what happened to her adoptive son, Zachary, the day he suffered a skull fracture and massive stroke. He was 2 years old.

She said that she threw him up in the air, and that it was a game to put a smile on his face. In August 2000, he hit a coffee table. "Unfortunately, he slammed his left side on coffee table," Higier said.

The child's father, Higier's ex-husband, couldn't believe his ears.

"To hear he lost his child in a game was distressing to him, and he's in a state of distress. The impact the boy suffered would have happened from a fall from a six-story building. They live in a house in Braintree. I don't think the story matched his understanding of the impact that happened to the boy," Louis Higier's attorney, Raymond Sayeg, said.

The Higier's were married just shy of seven years. Unable to conceive a child, they adopted a child from Russia.

Higier was home alone with Zachary on the day of the accident, and she took the toddler to the doctor hours after the fall. She originally told everyone that he fell asleep after a routine morning and wouldn't wake up.

"Zach would have had to sustain injuries at 8 a.m., in direct contradiction to her saying he ate breakfast, played with toys," prosecutor Sabine Coyne said.

Higier was sentenced to one year in state prison with four years probation after. During the first six months of probation, she will wear an electronic monitoring bracelet, and she'll have to go to anger management classes.

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