A Los Angeles woman and her boyfriend are facing trial for torturing and killing the woman’s son, eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.
The trial for the boyfriend, Isaurro Aguirre, began Monday morning when prosecutor Jon Hatami detailed the acts allegedly committed by Aguirre and the boy’s mother, Pearl Fernandez. Fernandez will be tried separately at a later date.
The prosecutor said that Aguirre made Gabriel dress up in girls’ clothes and go to school, adding that Aguirre didn’t like Gabriel because he thought the boy was gay. Homophobia was Aguirre’s motivation mistreating the child.
Hatami explained that the couple “beat Gabriel, bit him, burned him with cigarettes, whipped him, shot him with a BB gun, starved him, fed him cat litter and kept him gagged and bound in this cubby until he was found on May 22, 2013.”
Prosecutors said the little boy suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and burns. They also say the boy’s brothers and sisters were forced to watch him being beat and tortured.
The couple called paramedics to treat Gabriel, but only in an attempt to mislead.
“They didn’t call 911 to help Gabriel. They called 911 to cover up what they did,” Hatami said. “The defendant lied on the 911 call.”
Hatami added, “The evidence will show that the defendant is nothing more than a bully. He was a security guard who intentionally tortured and abused a helpless and innocent little boy.”
Hatami showed text messages between Aguirre and the boy’s mother, claiming they prove the pair conspired together to torture and kill Gabriel. The texts show that the couple tried to conceal their actions against the boy in order to prevent anyone knowing that they were harming him.
Paramedic James Cermak testified as well on Monday, saying he couldn’t believe what he saw when he responded to the 911 call at the couple’s apartment.
“Strangulation marks around his neck. His ankles were swollen. I believe his left palm looked like it was burned. Bite marks, bruises head-to-toe, skull fractures,” Cermak said.
He added, “It was just (an) unbelievable amount of trauma on his body.”
After paramedics found Gabriel Fernandez in cardiac arrest, he was hospitalized. He died two days later.