The mother of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy who was tortured, starved, and locked in a closet until his 2013 death pleaded guilty today to a murder charge prosecutors say.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez entered a guilty plea in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and admitted to special circumstance of murder involving torture.
Fernandez's boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre was convicted last year of the same charge and special circumstance allegation. Jurors recommended that he be sentenced to death. The 37-year-old Aguirre is scheduled to be sentenced on March 8th.
Sentencing for Fernandez is set for June 7th.
In 2013, Los Angeles Fire Department personell discovered Gabriel Fernandez's condition after being called for a report that Gabriel was not breathing. He was later declared brain-dead and taken off of life-support two days later.
Prosecutors say Gabriel was routinely beaten, starved, and shot with a BB gun by Aguirre and Fernandez. The couple also forced the 8-year-old to eat cat feces and sleep while bound and gagged inside a cabinet.
Gabriel Fernandez's death caused an uproar over the handling of his case by Los Angeles County social workers, who had had multiple contacts with the family. A later investigation led to charges against two former social workers, who are still awaiting trial on one felony county each of child abuse and falsifying public records.