Two sen­tenced in boy’s ‘be­yond an­i­mal­is­tic’ death

Manteca Bulletin - - Local / State -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — A judge sen­tenced a Cal­i­for­nia mother to life in prison Thurs­day and gave her boyfriend the death penalty in the “be­yond an­i­mal­is­tic” killing of the woman’s 8-year-old son, who pros­e­cu­tors say was pun­ished be­cause the cou­ple be­lieved he was gay.

Los An­ge­les County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Ge­orge Lomeli told the cou­ple that he hopes they wake up in the mid­dle of the night and think of the in­juries they in­flicted on 8-year-old Gabriel Fer­nan­dez of Palm­dale.

“I can only wish ... that it tor­tures you,” the judge said.

Gabriel was re­peat­edly beaten, starved, tied up, locked in a cab­i­net, shot with a BB gun and once had his teeth knocked out with a bat, the judge said.

The boy also had a frac- tured skull, bro­ken ribs and burns across his body.

“It goes with­out say­ing that the con­duct was hor­ren­dous and in­hu­mane and noth­ing short of evil,” Lomeli said. “It’s be­yond an­i­mal­is­tic be­cause an­i­mals know how to take care of their young.”

Gabriel’s mother, 34-yearold Pearl Fer­nan­dez, pleaded guilty to mur­der in Fe­bru­ary in the death of her son. A jury found her boyfriend, 37-year-old Isauro Aguirre, guilty of mur­der last year and found that he in­ten­tion­ally tor­tured the boy.

Fer­nan­dez called 911 on May 22, 2013, to re­port that her son wasn’t breath­ing. She told re­spond­ing deputies that he had fallen and hit his head on a dresser.

He died two days later of blunt-force trauma and ne­glect, the coro­ner’s of­fice found.

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