By TERRI VERMEULEN KEITH
City News Service
LOS ANGELES — A Palmdale man was convicted of first-degree homicide right this moment for the torture-killing of his girlfriend’s Eight-year-old son, whose agony-filled life shocked the group and led to felony costs towards social employees accused of ignoring his plight.
Isauro Aguirre, 37, faces a doable demise sentence for the killing of Gabriel Fernandez, who was routinely crushed, shot with a BB gun, fed cat feces and compelled to sleep whereas gagged and sure inside a small cupboard. In addition to convicting Aguirre of homicide, the seven-woman, five-man jury additionally discovered true a particular circumstance allegation of homicide involving the infliction of torture.
The jury deliberated for about 5 half hours over two days earlier than reaching its verdict late Wednesday morning.
The penalty part of Aguirre’s trial, throughout which jurors might be requested whether or not Aguirre needs to be sentenced to demise or life in jail with out parole, will start Nov. 27.
Gabriel’s mom, 34-year-old Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, continues to be awaiting trial for the boy’s May 2013 demise. Prosecutors are additionally looking for the demise penalty for her.
Aguirre’s legal professional, Michael Sklar, acknowledged through the trial that Aguirre killed the boy, however advised jurors in his closing summation on Monday that the defendant “acted in a rage of anger followed by an explosion of violence” and never with the deliberation and premeditation required for a verdict of first- diploma homicide.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami referred to as Aguirre an “evil” man who “liked torturing” the boy and did so systematically within the months main as much as the kid’s demise. Aguirre hated the boy as a result of he thought he was homobadual, in line with the prosecutor, who started his closing argument by displaying a photograph of Gabriel’s battered physique mendacity on an post-mortem desk — lined in accidents head to toe — as proof of Aguirre’s intent to kill the boy.
“You can’t believe a person in our society would intentionally murder a child,” Hatami mentioned, evaluating the abuse to that suffered by a prisoner of battle.
“Believe it, because it happened. This was intentional murder by torture,” he advised the jury. “Do not go back in the jury room and make excuses for the defendant … this had nothing to do with drugs … this had nothing to do with mental health issues.”
Hatami mentioned within the months main as much as the boy’s demise, he was “being starved and punched and kicked and abused and beaten … he was belittled, bullied and called gay. His teeth were knocked out. He was tied up every night in a box … Gabriel was dying.”
The prosecutor painted an image of Aguirre sleeping in a snug mattress night time after night time whereas, in the identical room, Gabriel was sure and gagged inside a small cupboard with a “sock in his mouth, a shoelace (tying) up his hands, a bandanna over his face” and his ankles handcuffed.
“To force a child to eat cat litter and cat feces, more than once, how does somebody do that?” Hatami requested, referring to testimony by Gabriel’s huge brother.
He alleged that the 6-foot-2, 270-pound defendant punched and kicked Gabriel arduous sufficient to dent the partitions of the household’s residence and depart the boy unconscious, then — with badist from the boy’s mom — hid a number of the little one’s bloody clothes and moved an image to cowl up one of many largest indentations earlier than calling 911.
The protection contended that Aguirre by no means meant to kill the kid, however Hatami sought to undercut that declare, telling jurors in his summation of the case that Aguirre hated the boy. The couple solely took him from his maternal grandparents in order that they may accumulate welfare funds for his care, the prosecutor mentioned.
“Gabriel was a gentler boy, a sweeter boy (than his brother) and the defendant hated him because of that … he believed Gabriel was gay,” Hatami mentioned. “This stressful situation and rage thing is a lie … because it’s not supported by the evidence. The defendant actually liked torturing Gabriel. He got off on it … he is a murderer and he is a torturer.”
Aguirre’s legal professional countered that “the evidence in this case requires you to find (Aguirre) guilty of (second-degree) murder, not first-degree murder.”
Sklar acknowledged “unspeakable acts of abuse over a period of time” by his shopper, however urged the panel as a matter of legislation to focus solely on the night of May 22, 2013, when Gabriel endured the beating that prompted his demise.
Aguirre was offended as a result of Gabriel had requested his mom to go away Aguirre after which denied saying so, calling his mom a liar in entrance of Aguirre, the protection legal professional mentioned.
“Isauro exploded in a rage of anger” and later “described his anger as a 20 on a scale of 10” to a detective, Sklar mentioned. “He was completely out of control.”
But as soon as his shopper realized Gabriel was unconscious, “he immediately took steps to begin to revive him,” the protection legal professional mentioned.
The legal professional additionally alleged that Gabriel’s mom was the one who hit the boy with a belt, shot him with a BB gun, pressured him to eat cat feces and was liable for a lot of the abuse previous to his demise.
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel went to the household’s house within the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale in response to a name that Gabriel was not respiration. He was declared brain-dead that day and brought off life badist two days later.
Aguirre and the boy’s mom have been jailed with out bail since being charged in May 2013 with the boy’s demise. The two have been subsequently indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury.
Two former Los Angeles County social employees — Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement — and supervisors Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt have been charged final 12 months with one felony rely every of kid abuse and falsifying public information in reference to the case.