2005-02-20 to 2013-05-24
Palmdale, California, U.S.Gabriel Fernandez (February 20, 2005 – May 24, 2013) was an eight-year-old American boy from Palmdale, California, who was abused and tortured over a period of months that ultimately ended in his fatal beating on May 22, 2013. His mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, were both charged and convicted of first degree murder with special circumstances of torture. Pearl Fernandez was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and Isauro Aguirre was sentenced to death.
In 2012, Pearl Fernandez, the biological mother of Gabriel Fernandez, was given child custody of Gabriel, reportedly to gain welfare benefits. She was given custody in spite of concerns from her family, who had been taking care of Gabriel, that she was neglectful towards other children. Fernandez then was moved in with his mother and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. While in the household of Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre for eight months, Gabriel Fernandez was systematically abused and tortured. The abuse included being forced to eat cat litter and feces, forced to eat his own vomit, regularly beaten which caused broken bones, burned in various parts of the body, shot in various areas of the body including the face and groin with a BB gun, forced to wear female clothing, forced to sleep bound and gagged in a small cupboard, pepper sprayed, burned with cigarettes, given cold baths, and forced to eat spoiled or expired food. According to Fernandez's siblings, while Fernandez was being abused his parents would laugh. Aguirre reportedly abused Fernandez because he believed he was homosexual; there is no evidence that Fernandez was in fact homosexual. The abuse did not extend to Fernandez's siblings.
In October 2012, Aguirre began working as a security guard for AVL Private Security; through AVL he worked at the Vallarta Market in Palmdale, California. Aguirre met Pearl Fernandez roughly a year and a half to two years before they took custody of Gabriel Fernandez. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall.
Aguirre was charged with first degree murder with special circumstances of torture for murdering Gabriel Fernandez. He pleaded not guilty; however, the jury found him guilty and recommended he be sentenced to death, which was accepted by Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli. Aguirre was admitted to San Quentin State Prison on June 13, 2018, where he is currently awaiting execution.
Currently, Pearl Fernandez is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for first degree murder with special circumstances of torture at Central California Women's Facility. Pearl was admitted to the facility on June 21, 2018.