A Palmdale, California, mother admitted last week to brutally beating, starving, and torturing her young son who later died from his injuries.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of first-degree murder and the special circumstance allegation of intentional murder by torture. Fernandez was on trial for the May 2013 death of her son, Gabriel, who died two days after paramedics found him unresponsive in their home.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Gabriel sustained a cracked skull, broken ribs, burned and bruised skin, missing teeth, and has BB pellets lodged in his groin. The boy was forced to sleep in a small cabinet with his ankles handcuffed, hands bound, and gagged with a sock.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Los Angeles County detectives recovered two handcuffs, ten BB guns, and metal BBs in a container from the Palmdale residence. However, only one of the ten BB guns that police seized from the home was able to shoot the metal pellets they discovered.
Prosecutors revealed that Pearl’s boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 37, tortured the child because he believed he was gay. Aguirre would force him to eat cat feces in addition to his own vomit, prosecutors said.
The county’s child welfare system also came under fire following Gabriel’s death. As CrimeOnline previously reported, four ex-social workers were charged with child abuse for allegedly falsifying and omitting information from their records.
Social workers allowed the 8-year-old to stay in the home despite investigating Pearl six times and receiving numerous reports about his injuries. Police also visited the home several times in the months leading up to the boy’s murder, according to the L.A. Times.
People reported that Gabriel had lived with his grandparents up until 2012 when he moved in with his mother and boyfriend. His grandparents told jurors that the 8-year-old was “happy and healthy” when he was with them.
Aguirre was found guilty in November of first-degree murder and the special circumstance allegation of intentional murder by torture. A jury recommended the death penalty. His sentencing is scheduled for March 8.
By pleading guilty, Pearl is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 7.
[Featured Image: Gabriel Fernandez/Facebook]