Gabriel Fernandez: Mother's boyfriend beat eight-year-old to death because he thought he was gay, court told

'My mom and her boyfriend made Gabriel eat spoiled stuff or expired stuff. One thing I remember is expired spinach. He threw it up, and they made him eat it off the table'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson@lucypasha
Thursday 19 October 2017 09:53
Gabriel suffered a barrage of physical and emotional abuse before his death in 2013
Gabriel suffered a barrage of physical and emotional abuse before his death in 2013

An eight-year-old boy endured unimaginable abuse before his death including being forced to eat cat litter and being bound and gagged, a court heard.

Gabriel Fernandez's mother Pearl and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre allegedly tortured the child in the months leading up to his death in 2013.

Gabriel was sprayed with pepper spray, forced to eat cat faeces and regularly gagged, bound and beaten, according to testimony from Gabriel's older brother Ezequiel, who was 12 when his brother was killed.

"My mom and her boyfriend made Gabriel eat spoiled stuff or expired stuff. One thing I remember is expired spinach. He threw it up, and they made him eat it off the table," Ezequiel told the court, according to ABC7.

He was also burned with cigarettes, whipped with a metal hanger and shot with a BB gun, the jury was told.

Prosecutor Jon Hatami said Aguirre forced Gabriel to go to school in pink clothes and was motivated to kill him because he thought he was gay.

"It was just unbelievable amount of trauma on his body," Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic James Cermak, who responded to the 911 call on the day of his death, told the court.

Gabriel's 14-year-old sister Virginia, who was 11 at the time of the abuse, also described what happened on the day he died.

"He knocked the air out of him, and he fell over, and he didn't get back up," she told the court. "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."

The judge reportedly called a recess during the testimony because so many in the room were crying.

The disturbing details came to light during the trial of Aguirre. The boy's mother Fernandez will be tried separately. Both are accused of torture and murder.