Older Brother Testifies in Palmdale 8-Year-Old's Torture-Beating Death


The older brother of an 8-year-old boy murdered in Palmdale after months of physical abuse - testified Wednesday he watched his brother get beaten with bats and a leather belt.

"On the skin," said the older brother, now 16, after he was asked where Gabriel Fernandez was hit.“Arms, butt, legs."

"A lot?," asked the prosecutor.

"A lot," the older brother said.

The brother, identified by his first name and last initial only, testified on the third day of the trial of Isauro Aguirre, the boys' mother's boyfriend.

Fernandez was beaten to death in May, 2013, and the older brother's testimony further detailed the abuse that led up to the murder.

The older brother identified a wooden cabinet in which Gabriel was forced to sleep, after the boy's hands had been tied with shoelaces and he had been muzzled so he couldn't make noise.

The older brother said Aguirre would force a black sock into Gabriel's mouth, and would "wrap a bandana on his [Gabriel's] mouth," before closing the boy in the cabinet and locking the doors with a pair of shiny chrome handcuffs.

The older brother told jurors Gabriel was forced to sleep in the cabinet for months, and said it was to hide him from social workers.

Later, the prosecutor asked about when Gabriel's front teeth had been knocked out, and the older brother said that happened when, on two occasions, Aguirre and his mother took Gabriel into a bedroom and closed the door.

The older brother said his mother used the thick part of a baseball bat to smash out Gabriel's teeth.

"When the door was closed, did you hear Gabriel scream and cry?," the prosecutor asked.

"Yes."

"Did you see blood?"

"Yes."

Aguirre faces a capital murder charge with the special allegation of torture. A conviction could lead to a death sentence.

His defense lawyer told jurors Monday Aguirre is guilty of killing the boy, but claimed it was not intentional and there was no torture.


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