Jurors in Palmdale Child Murder Report Trouble

Jurors considering whether to recommend a death sentence for the man convicted of torturing and killing an 8-year-old boy in Palmdale asked a judge Tuesday what would happen if they were unable to reach a verdict in the penalty phase of the trial.

L.A. Superior Court Judge George Lomeli told the jurors at a short hearing they should continue discussing the case.

"Your inquiry is a little premature," he said. "This phase of the trial, the penalty phase, took about two weeks to do, you, uh, have only been deliberating for two hours."

Lomeli offered to provide read-backs of testimony, further instructions on the law, or even additional argument from the lawyers if it would help the jurors.

"If you're still at an impasse, then you'll advise the court of that," he said.

Around 11:30 a.m. the jurors buzzed the courtroom to request a laptop computer and speakers, possibly to review an item of video evidence used during the penalty phase.

The same jurors convicted Isauro Aguirre, 37, last month of the first degree murder of Gabriel Fernandez, and found true the special circumstance allegation Fernandez was tortured.

That finding led to the penalty phase of the case, in which the jurors were asked to recommend either a death sentence or a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In closing arguments at the penalty phase Monday prosecutor Jonathan Hatami urged jurors to recommend an execution, saying it was the only 'just' verdict considering the suffering Fernandez had endured.

Aguirre's defense lawyer John Alan asked for the lesser punishment, assuring the jurors that Aguirre would suffer knowing he'd some day die in prison.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content