A Palmdale man was sentenced to death and his girlfriend to life in prison without parole Thursday for murdering the woman’s 8-year-old son, who was routinely beaten, starved, forced to sleep in a closet and tortured until his death in 2013 because they thought he was gay.
Jurors recommended Dec. 13 that Aguirre be sentenced to death after convicting him of first-degree murder, and the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture for the death of Gabriel Fernandez.
However Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli called the couple’s actions “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil”, before handing down the sentences against Isauro Aguirre, 37, and Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34.
Gabriel’s mother, 34-year-old Pearl Fernandez, pleaded guilty to murder in the death of her son she thought was gay in February. She had been facing a possible death sentence if the case against her had gone to trial, and if she had been convicted as charged.
“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 … It’s beyond animalistic,” the judge said, noting that he hoped the two would wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what they had done to the boy.
In denying an automatic motion to reduce the jury’s recommendation of a death sentence for Aguirre to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the judge cited the “repeated beating, binding, burning and starving” of the boy. The judge also denied the defense’s motion for a new trial for Aguirre.
“… This case is without a doubt the most aggravated and egregious case of torture this court has ever witnessed,” Lomeli said. “The weight of this factor alone is simply enormous.”
In a brief statement shortly before she was sentenced, the boy’s mother said;
“I want to say I’m sorry to my family for what I did … I wish Gabriel was alive. Every day I wish that I made better choices.”