Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Court sentences man to death for killing girlfriend’s eight-year-old son

Court sentences man to death for killing girlfriend’s eight-year-old son

Pearl Fernandez is pictured in a brown prison jumpsuit.

A man and woman convicted of horrific abuse that led to the death of a 8-year-old Palmdale, California boy have been sentenced. "I wish I could have saved Gabriel".

The two were convicted of the 2013 fatal beating of Fernandez's son, Gabriel. Gabriel was routinely beaten, shot with a BB gun, fed cat feces and forced to sleep while gagged and bound inside a small cabinet, witnesses and prosecutors said.

After Gabriel finally succumbed to the abuse, medics found that he had a cracked skull, three broken ribs and BB pellets embedded in his lung, according to the LA Times. "You want to say that the conduct was animalistic, but that would be wrong because even animals know how to take care of their young, some to the extent that they would sacrifice their own lives in caring for their young", Lomeli said as he stared directly toward Fernandez and Aguirre in the court room.

Gabriel's mother, 34-year-old Pearl Fernandez, pleaded guilty to murder in February in the death of her son. A jury found Aguirre, guilty of first degree murder previous year and found that he intentionally tortured the boy.

She said she recalled Fernandez telling her out of the blue "I don't hit my kids" when they were discussing the boy at a parent-teacher conference. Gabriel died two days later after being removed from life support.

His siblings testified that his mother and Aguirre would call him gay, punish him if he played with dolls and forced him to wear girls' clothes to school.

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"I find comfort in believing he is now at peace", Garcia said.

"Then, I just remember that no matter what, I can't bring him back. They will have a lifetime of suffering to endure, and I know I'm not alone in hoping they experience the same abuse in their lifetime and worse".

Gabriel Fernandez was repeatedly beaten, starved and once had his teeth knocked out with a bat.

Fernandez spoke briefly during the court hearing, saying she was sorry and wished Gabriel was alive.

During the trial, prosecutors told how they forced Gabriel to sleep blindfolded in a cabinet.

A jail chaplain who met with Fernandez told the court that she loved her son and is a different woman today than when she walked into jail.

An investigation into his death uncovered years of abuse by Fernandez and Aguirre. In LA County, which has had serious problems with their Department of Children and Family Services, supervisors appointed a child protection czar, initiated a number of child welfare reforms and the DA brought criminal charges against County social workers who visited the home repeatedly and knew of at least six reports of abuse yet failed to removed Gabriel from a clearly risky home situation.

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