A California couple who relentlessly abused and murdered the woman’s 8-year-old son learned their fate in Los Angeles court on Thursday.
Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced Palmdale mother Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, to life without the possibility of parole and put boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, 37, on death row for the May 2013 killing of Gabriel Fernandez.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the couple routinely tortured, beat, and starved the slain child. Gabriel was forced to sleep in a small cabinet with his ankles handcuffed, hands bound, and gagged with a sock.
Gabriel was pronounced dead two days after paramedics found him unresponsive in his home. The Los Angeles Times reported that the 8-year-old had suffered a cracked skull, broken ribs, burned and bruised skin, missing teeth, and has BB pellets lodged in his groin, lungs, foot, and face.
Reports also indicated that investigators recovered ten BB guns, handcuffs, a wooden bat, and a club from the Palmdale home.
Prosecutors argued that Aguirre hated the boy because he believed he was gay. Last year, a jury had recommended Aguirre be sentenced to death after finding him guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture, according to the news station.
Los Angeles County social workers, who had prior contact with the family, drew criticism for their handling of this case. In fact, ex-social workers Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement and their supervisors, Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt, were each charged with felony child abuse and falsifying public records in connection with Gabriel’s case.
“The conduct was horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil,” Judge Lomeli said of the condemned couple Thursday, according to WNBC. “It’s unimaginable, the pain that this child probably endured. Gabriel was a kind, loving individual who just wanted to be loved.
“You want to say that the behavior was animalistic, but that would be wrong because even animals know how to care for their young.”
[Featured image: Gabriel Fernandez/KABC]