HOUSTON (KIAH) — A woman was sentenced Thursday to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the stabbing death of her own mother in 2021, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

Ericka Nicole McDonald, 31, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing 51-year-old Terri Mendoza at her apartment on Willow Place Drive in northwest Houston on August 16, 2021.

According to prosecutors, McDonald, who was staying with family members at a nearby apartment, donned a mask and black clothes to break into her mother’s apartment through a window and then fatally stab her.

Prosecutors said McDonald then left and changed clothes and returned to the scene minutes later and pretended she did not know what happened. An eyewitness was able to identify McDonald as the intruder, despite the mask, and officers with the Houston Police Department arrested McDonald.

“This is a tragic case and should not have happened, but prosecutors with our Homicide Division were able to get justice for the victim,” Ogg said.

McDonald cannot appeal the conviction or the punishment and must serve at least half of the prison sentence before she will be eligible for parole.

Assistant District Attorney Casey Smith, who is a chief in the DA’s Homicide Division, prosecuted the case.

“It was important to get justice in this case, and a plea agreement means she will go to prison for what she did and cannot appeal,” Smith said.