A Los Angeles couple have yesterday been sentenced for killing their eight year old child. Pearl Fernandez, 32, will die in jail while her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, 37, was sentenced to death at the LA court for their torture and murder of the child. Apparently, the couple were concerned that the boy might grow up to be gay because he liked to play with dolls, and the pair had attempted to beat and torture it out of him. Gabriel, the child, had suffered horrific abuse before his death as his mother and her boyfriend launched a campaign of abuse against him, covering him in pepper spray and forcing him to eat cat excrement and his own vomit on several occasions. They also shot his genitals with BB gun pellets and locked him in a closet with his mouth covered to muffle his screams.
When Gabriel eventually die,d he was assessed by paramedics who found he had a cracked skull, three broken ribs and several BB pellets embedded in his lung. The case has raised concerns about the county's management of referrals of children who are suspected to be suffering from abuse at home, because Gabriel was let down at several instances. He was initially taken from his mother shortly after being born in 2005, and lived with close relatives for most of his short life but Pearl and her boyfriend Aguirre reclaimed the child in 2012, a year before they killed the boy. It has taken five years for the case to reach completion, and in that time LAFD paramedic James Cermak told a court hearing in 2014: "It was just like every inch of this child had been abused."
Gabriel's teacher in school had identified that the boy was having problems at home, reporting to authorities at the time that the boy had demonstrated how to snort cocaine and had once turned up at school beaten and bleeding after his mother had hit him with a belt. Over the court of her teaching him, he had gone to school with black eyes, bloody lips and facial bruising and she had reported them all to authorities only to be told by a social worker that her concerns were unfounded. Just weeks before his death, a counsellor at a children's centre found a suicide note written by the boy and called 911 but the note wasn't taken seriously because it didn't contain a 'detailed plan'. Two social workers and supervisors have been fired as a result of Gabriel's case.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami told jurors during their trial: "For eight straight months, he was abused, beaten and tortured more severely than many prisoners of war. I have never seen this many skin injuries on one child.’’