Murder Trial Starts in Palmdale Child's Torture-Beating Death

The man accused of torturing and killing his girlfriend's 8-year-old son did so allegedly because he thought the boy was gay.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office prosecutor Jon Hatami says Isauro Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez did a multitude of torturous acts on Gabriel Fernandez including beating, biting, burning, whipping, starving, bounding and gagging, shooting him with a BB gun and feeding him cat litter.

Hatami says the couple only called first responders to treat Gabriel to mislead a potential investigation.

“They didn’t call 911 to help Gabriel. They called 911 to cover up what they did. The defendant lied on the 911 call.”

Gabriel was taken to a hospital, but died two days later.

Aguirre's attorney John Allan says his client admits to causing the injuries to Gabriel but only because he was in a rage after the child told his mother to leave her boyfriend.

He also claims Aguirre has a hard time handling stress and chaotic situations.

"He is guilty of murder, but the special circumstance alleged, that he intended kill Gabriel with the infliction of torture, is not true...Despite the horrific abuse, Isauro never intended for Gabriel to die."

Hatami says Aguirre made Gabriel go to school dressed in girl's clothes and that he hated the boy because he believed he was gay, thus the mistreatment.

“Gabriel’s last vision was that man over there standing over Gabriel, beating him to death...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.”

Besides showing the jury photos of Gabriel's beaten body, Hatami also showed them texts between the defendant and the boy's mother to prove they conspired to torture and kill Gabriel.

He says they show the couple also tried to hide what they were doing so no one would know what they were doing to the 8-year-old.

Aguirre is being charged with murder with a special circumstance of torture and his trial is expected to last 8 weeks.

Pearl Fernandez will be tried separately and four Los Angeles County social workers who were assigned to Gabriel's case also face charges in connection to his death.

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