A mother has been jailed for life and her boyfriend sentenced to death for the murder of her eight-year-old son who they tortured and abused until he died because they thought he was gay.
Pearl Fernandez, 34, and Isauro Aguirre, 37, were sentenced on Thursday for the May 2013 death of her son Gabriel.
Over the course of several months, the pair tortured Gabriel at their home in Los Angeles by locking him up in cabinets, beating him with bats and shooting him with BB guns.
The boy was taken to hospital on May 23, 2013, after he stopped breathing. He had pellets lodged in his lung and groin and had a fractured skull.
On Thursday, Los Angeles Superior County Court Judge George Lomeli described the case as one of the worst he had seen in 20 years on the bench.
‘In my almost 20 years on the bench in this court, this case is without a doubt the most aggravated and egregious case this court has ever witnessed.
‘It’s beyond animalistic because animals know how to take care of their young,’ he said.
Aguirre and Fernandez sat at the same defendants’ table, not looking at one another throughout the hearing.
During the trial, prosecutors told how they forced Gabriel to sleep blindfolded in a cabinet. They also force fed him feces.
As he sentenced the pair, Lomeli said he hoped they woke up in the middle of the night haunted by how they tortured the child.
‘I can only wish…that in the middle of the night you wake up, and you think of the injuries that you subjected on this poor young man, this poor 7-year-old, and that it tortures you,’ he said.
Prosecutors told how the pair systematically abused Gabriel because they thought he was homosexual.
They tried to cover up their abuse of him and discussed putting him in ice baths over text messages.
They thought the baths would help disguise his bruises.
As part of their case, prosecutors submitted drawings which illustrated the scale of the boy’s injuries.
In a prepared statement, the boy’s mother told the court: ‘Everyday I wish I made better choices. I wish I could have saved Gabriel.’
Her boyfriend carried out the most violent abuse.
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