Man sentenced for brutal killing of 8-year-old should have the death penalty, jury rules

A jury recommended the death penalty for the man convicted for the killing of Gabriel Fernandez, an 8-year-old boy who died in 2013.


A California man convicted of torturing and murdering his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son would be sentenced to death.

A seven-woman, five-man jury, which deliberated for about seven hours over three days, recommended Wednesday that Isauro Aguirre, 37, be put to death for the May 2013 savage killing of Gabriel Fernandez.

“We were plucked out of our daily lives and are brought together to serve,” the jury foreman said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We came together to bring justice for Gabriel.”

The child’s mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, is awaiting trial and also faces a possible death sentence.

Gabriel died on May 25, 2013, two days after paramedics arrived at his Palmdale home and found him unconscious with a cracked skull, broken ribs, burned and swollen skin, missing teeth and BB pellets stuck in his groin.

His death caused widespread reform of the Los Angeles County child-welfare system.

“There is nothing worse in our society than an adult man to murder and torture of an innocent boy,” Deputy district Attorney Jonathan Hatami told the jury during his closing statement earlier this week.

Grandparents Sandra and Robert Fernandez at a memorial service on June 12, 2013 in Sylmar, CA

(2015 Los Angeles Times)

Aguirre ‘beat Gabriel to death with his fists and his hands … in front of Gabriel’s own brother and sister. What kind of man would do that?” Hatami said. “Not a man with only goodness in him.”

Aguirre’s public defender, John Alan, asked for mercy for his client, who claimed that he was “gentle, kind, patient, [and] respectful.”

“The death penalty is not required for even the most heinous crime,” he added.

Alan said Aguirre violent actions were “at least for a part, intersected with Pearl’s.”

“[Pearl Fernandez was] for violence, abuse and neglect of her children, even before they met Isauro. Even her own family considered her a danger to her children,” said Alan.

Aguirre was convicted of first-degree murder on Nov. 15. His sentencing is scheduled for 8 March.

Two former Los Angeles County social workers – Stephanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement and supervisors Kevin Bomb and Gregory Merritt are awaiting trial on a felony count each of child abuse and the forgery of public records, which Gabriel.

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