updated 4/11/2006 5:49:46 PM ET 2006-04-11T21:49:46

A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to murder and was sentenced to life in prison for slitting the throat of her friend’s baby in retaliation for being kicked out of her apartment.

Natalie Rodriguez, 23, blamed her “dysfunctional ways of living” for the drunken rage that led her to snatch 9-month-old Xavier Antonio Miranda from his crib and kill him in a snowbank.

“It really hurts to know my only friend did this to me. It destroyed my family. It destroyed everybody,” the boy’s mother, Giselle Miranda, said as she stared at Rodriguez from the witness stand.

The mother added: “My son was innocent. If she had any type of grudge, she could have taken it out on me or my husband, not my son. I have no words for her.”

Rodriguez will have to serve 26 more years in prison for the 2002 slaying before becoming eligible for parole.

Mental illness, alcoholism in background
Rodriguez is an alcoholic with a history of mental illness and an attempted suicide, her lawyers said. She had been drinking before the slaying.

Rodriguez and Giselle Miranda, 22, were childhood friends who grew up in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.

One month before the slaying, Miranda’s family took in Rodriguez and her then-4-year-old son in their three-bedroom Chelsea apartment after Rodriguez lost her job at a Social Security office and was kicked out her family home.

But Rodriguez drank, was belligerent and did not pay rent. The Miranda family told her to move out. Her deadline was the day she killed the baby.

Rodriguez said she silently lifted Xavier out of his crib in the middle of the night, picked up a knife from the kitchen, placed him face down in a snowbank in a neighbor’s driveway, and slashed his throat. She then hid the body under a trash can in the driveway.

“I was the cause of the death of a precious boy who I loved dearly,” Rodriguez said Tuesday through tears. “I want to apologize to the family. I’m very sorry.”

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