Gabriel Fernandez's mother and her boyfriend are charged with murder in the 8-year-old California boy's death

By Christine Pelisek
November 03, 2017 11:54 AM
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Detectives investigating the death of Gabriel Fernandez discovered a bat, a club and handcuffs at the family’s Palmdale, California home, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective.

Detective Timothy O’Quinn testified Wednesday that detectives also found 10 BB guns and metal BBs in a container, ABC reports.

Prosecutors alleged that the items were all part of 37-year-old Isauro Aguirre’s eight-month-long campaign of terror against his 8-year-old stepson. Aguirre is charged with murder with a special circumstance of torture in the boy’s 2013 death.

Gabriel’s 34-year-old mother, Pearl Fernandez, is also charged with murder. Her trial is pending.

Isauro Aguirre
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty

Both have pleaded not guilty and face possible death sentences if convicted.

Gabriel died from a skull fracture, shattered ribs and severe burns.

At least 9 metal BBs were found embedded in Gabriel’s neck, face, lung, legs, buttocks, foot, chest and groin area, according to ABC.

Prosecutors, who rested their case Wednesday, alleged that Aguirre abused and ultimately killed the boy because he believed Gabriel was gay.

On Tuesday, the jury heard three interviews Aguirre had with detectives just hours after Gabriel was found dead on May 23, 2013.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Elliot Uribe testified that Aguirre first denied knowing what happened to the boy but eventually allegedly admitted he beat the boy after Gabriel allegedly told his mother she should leave him.

Aguirre allegedly told detectives that during the beating, he lost count of how many times he hit him.

“Maybe 10 times,” he said, according to ABC.

During cross-examination, Aguirre’s defense attorney played a video recording of the interview and said his client tried to resuscitate the boy when he realized he had stopped breathing.

Gabriel Ferndandez
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“When I took him out, I could hear bubbles, or air bubbles, so I told her to get me the phone so I can call 911,” he said. “She did. So I had them on speaker and they were helping me to do compressions, you know, CPR.”

Grandfather’s Emotional Testimony: ‘I Didn’t Think Pearl Wanted Him’

Earlier this week, Gabriel’s grandfather testified about the last time he spoke to the boy. Gabriel had previously lived with his grandparents before moving in with his mother and Aguirre.

“He said he wanted to come home,” testified Robert Fernandez, according to KTLA. “I told him that … the DCFS was investigating the case and I couldn’t bring him home, but that they were, one of these days, going to bring him home,” the grandfather said, according to CBS Los Angeles. “And I promised that to him.”

The boy’s grandfather told the court he practically raised Gabriel, reported ABC, and that he loved him like a son.

“We had custody of him,” Robert testified. “I didn’t think Pearl wanted him.”

Fernandez said Aguirre picked him up one day for a barbecue and never returned him. He said he only saw Gabriel a few times subsequently before he learned of his death.

The defense will start its case on Monday.

Aguirre’s attorney could not be reached for comment.