LOS ANGELES — Nearly five years after 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez was murdered because his mother’s boyfriend thought Gabriel was gay, the boy’s mother pleaded guilty Thursday to first degree murder, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, of Palmdale, faces life in state prison following her guilty plea to the murder count and admission to the special circumstance allegation of intentional murder by torture. She is scheduled to be sentenced June 7 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.
Fernandez’s boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 37, of Palmdale, had already been found guilty of first-degree murder and the special circumstance allegation of intentional murder by torture in November.
In November, prosecutors told jurors that Fernandez and Aguirre, severely and systematically abused Gabriel for months leading up to the boy’s death on May 22, 2013.
During closing arguments of Aguirre’s case in November, prosecutors detailed how the 6-foot-2, 270-pound Aguirre tortured the small boy, forcing Gabriel to eat cat litter and feces. They also said Aguirre locked the boy, bound and gagged, in a small cabinet overnight.
When paramedics arrived at the Palmdale home, Gabriel was unconscious with a cracked skull, three broken ribs, and BB pellets embedded in his lung and groin. Fernandez was declared dead and removed from life support two days later
In December, jurors recommended the death penalty for Aguirre, who is scheduled to be sentenced March 8.