Siblings say their eight-year-old brother ‘killed for acting gay’ was made to eat his own vomit
An eight-year-old allegedly killed by his mother’s boyfriend because he thought the boy was gay was made to throw up and then eat it the vomit, his siblings have told the court.
Isauro Aguirre made Gabriel Fernandez wear stereotypically female clothes to school before using torture methods to kill him, including beating, whipping and starving him, the prosecution has said.
And now, Gabriel’s siblings, who were 11 and 12 at the time of the death, have testified against Aguirre, leaving many in the courtroom – including members of the jury – in tears.
They told jurors that their brother was forced to eat cat faeces, food that had gone off, and – when he threw up from eating these items – his own vomit.
He was also beaten daily, pepper sprayed and bound and forced into a tiny cubby for long periods, they said.
Ezequiel, who is now 16, said Aguirre shot Gabriel with a BB gun in the face and groin and beat him using wire hangers and a belt buckle.
The accused also pinned Gabriel against the wall by the neck until he lost consciousness, he added.
“My mom and her boyfriend made Gabriel eat spoiled stuff or expired stuff,” said Ezequiel.
“One thing I remember is expired spinach. He threw it up, and they made him eat it off the table,” he told the court, according to WLS-TV.
The prosecutor clarified the point, asking: “Did the defendant make Gabriel eat throw up?”
The 16-year-old nodded and said simply: “Yes.”
On the day Gabriel died, Ezequiel said he watched his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and Aguirre beat the eight-year-old until he was bloody and drag him into their bedroom.
They then closed the door and Ezequiel heard bangs and screams before everything went quiet, he said.
His sister Virginia, 14, took the stand later in the day, sobbing through her horrifying testimony.
She described how Gabriel was choked and beaten with wire hangers, a baseball bat, and belt buckle.
She added that her mother and Aguirre forced the child to wear pink leggings and a pink shirt to school.
The prosecutor asked Virginia how Gabriel had lost his two front teeth, to which she replied: “My mother had punched him.”
She then proceeded to recount the day her brother died, openly crying as she talked about her mother asking her to help clean up the scene of his death.
“I was sitting on the edge of the bed. And my mother’s boyfriend was punching him,” she told the jury.
“He knocked the air out of him, and he fell over, and he didn’t get back up. So they picked him up. They threw him in the shower.
“And they kept yelling at him to wake up. And when he didn’t wake up, my mother decided to call the police.
“And she told me to grab a rag and we cleaned most of the blood that was on the floor.”
With many jurors sobbing uncontrollably, the judge called a recess.
Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic James Cermak, who found the child in cardiac arrest, earlier testified that there was “an unbelievable amount of trauma” on Gabriel’s body.
He was responding to a 911 call from the home which Aguirre, 32, shared with Gabriel’s mother Pearl.
She will also face trial.
The court earlier heard from prosecutor Jon Hatami, who said the couple beat the eight-year-old victim.
They also burned him with cigarettes, whipped him and shot him with a BB gun, he said.
In further torture, Hatami said they starved Gabriel, fed him cat litter and kept him trapped in a cubby hole.
He had a sock stuffed in his mouth, his hands bound and a bandana tied around his face, Hatami added.
Aguirre and Fernandez eventually called first responders to treat Gabriel.
The prosecutor said this was a tactic designed to cover their tracks, according to KTLA.
“They didn’t call 911 to help Gabriel,” Hatami said.
“They called 911 to cover up what they did.
“The defendant lied on the 911 call.”
The child was rushed to hospital, but died two days later.
Hatami said that “Gabriel’s last vision was that man over there standing over Gabriel, beating him to death.”
The prosecutor said Aguirre was 6’2″ and 270 pounds when Gabriel died.
The eight-year-old boy was 4’1″ and 59 pounds, he added.
“The evidence will show that the defendant is nothing more than a bully,” Hatami told the court.
“He was a security guard who intentionally tortured and abused a helpless and innocent little boy.”
The jury was shown texts sent between Aguirre and Gabriel’s mother.
Hatami said these showed that the pair conspired to torture and kill Gabriel.
They then messaged each other to cover up their actions, he added.
Defense attorney John Allan said Aguirre was “guilty of murder”.
However, he added that “the special circumstance alleged, that he intended kill Gabriel with the infliction of torture, is not true.”
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He continued: “Despite the horrific abuse, Isauro never intended for Gabriel to die.”
Allan said Aguirre admitted to causing injuries to Gabriel.
But he said this was only after the child told his mother to leave her boyfriend, causing Aguirre to explode in rage.
Four Los Angeles County social workers who were assigned to Gabriel’s case also face charges in connection with the death.
Watch the full report below: