Man found guilty of torturing and killing eight-year-old who he thought was gay
A man has been found guilty of brutally torturing and killing an eight-year-old who he thought he was gay.
A jury will now decide if Isauro Aguirre, 37, will be handed a death sentence after being convicted of the first-degree murder of Gabriel Fernandez.
Aguirre was going out with Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, who has pleaded not guilty ahead of her separate trial over her son’s death, according to the LA Times.
Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami called the 6’2″, 270-pound Aguirre “evil” and said he “got off on” torturing Gabriel before killing the eight-year-old in May 2013.
The court heard how Aguirre’s eight-month-long abuse of the 4’1″ child including beating, whipping, shooting and starving him, as well as feeding him cat faeces and his own vomit.
Detective Elliot Uribe told the court that the suffering inflicted on Gabriel constituted “the worst injuries I’ve ever seen on a child.”
When the verdict was handed down, Hatami let his emotions flood out, embracing the dead child’s father.
During a press conference afterwards, the prosecutor cried as he talked to the press.
He said: “It’s just two dads, and two humans in the community, just sharing the fact that maybe there was some justice.”
Criminalists said during the trial that Aguirre had repeatedly slammed Gabriel’s head into the walls of their home, causing hundreds of blood stains and dents.
Forensic testing also revealed that Gabriel’s blood was on multiple items in the home, including a wooden club, a baseball bat and computer cords.
The victim’s teenage siblings also testified, causing jurors to sob uncontrollably as they described the horrific torture they had seen.
Ezequiel, 16, and Virginia, 14, said Aguirre shot Gabriel in the face and groin with a BB gun and beat him using wire hangers and a belt buckle.
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.
Gabriel’s teacher said that he came to school wearing girls’ clothes, and told her at one point: “Sometimes my mum makes me bleed…on my bottom ’cause she hits me with a belt.”
The prosecution had earlier told the court that Aguirre forced the child to wear pink leggings and a dress to the school.
In March, four social workers were charged with child abuse for their roles in Gabriel’s death, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar saying that “red flags were everywhere.”
The social workers have pleaded not guilty.