The man convicted of murdering the 8-year-old son of his girlfriend has been sentenced to death.
A jury gave their verdict against Isauro Aguirre, 37, for the dastardly killing of Gabriel Fernandez. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office also said that the jury also found a special circumstance allegation that the poor boy had been mercilessly tortured.
The jury deliberations in the penalty phase started Monday afternoon in downtown L.A. criminal courthouse. By Tuesday, jurors say they were deadlocked. Superior Court Judge George Lomeli sent them back to resume deliberations to arrive at a decision.
The jury composed of seven women and five men returned with their recommendation for Aguirre’s sentence on Wednesday afternoon.
Aguirre’s sentencing was set for March 8 next year. He did not appear to give his reactions after the recommendation was announced in court.
The prosecutor in the case welcomed the decision. Deputy DA John Hatami said: “At least there’s a little bit of justice for Gabriel, and there’s a little bit of justice for his family.” Hatami earlier described Aguirre as “pure evil.”
During the month-long trial, prosecutors asserted that Aguirre participated in the systemic and severe abuse of the child for months on end before Gabriel’s death in May 2013. The team argued that Aguirre hated the innocent child simply because he thought that the child was gay, and such “belief” motivated his cruel treatment of the child.
Prosecutors and witnesses, testimonies said that for months, poor Gabriel had been beaten, burned with cigarettes, whipped, shot in the face and groin with a B.B. gun, forced to eat cat litter and feces, and locked in a container “box” for days.
Prosecutors also said that Aguirre even derived pleasure in abusing and torturing Gabriel.
The mother, Pearl Fernandez, called 911 on May 22, 2013, after her little son became unresponsive after being beaten. Paramedics who responded to the call found Gabriel naked in the bedroom and suffering from horrific injuries including a fractured skull, multiple broken ribs, and burns. The boy died after two days.
James Cermak, Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic, said during the trial that Gabriel horribly had “an unbelievable amount of trauma on his body.” He also told the jury in an earlier testimony that “it was like every inch of this child had been abused.”
The mother also continues to face charges of one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation of torture. The 34-year-old is also accused of conspiring with Aguirre to keeping their harsh treatment of Gabriel a secret from others. A pretrial hearing for Fernandez is set for January 16.