The murderer of eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez ‘liked torturing him’, a prosecutor said while summing up the case.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami, said 37-year-old Isauro Aguirre ‘belittled and bullied’ the young boy, describing his shock at a person intentionally murdering a child, likening the abuse to that suffered by a prisoner of war.
He told the jury:
Believe it, because it happened. This was intentional murder by torture. 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.
[prior to Gabriel’s death, he was] 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.
However, according to Aguirre’s attorney, the 37-year-old murdered Fernandez in May 2013 but had ‘acted in a rage of anger followed by an explosion’, contrary to the deliberation and premeditation required for a verdict of first-degree murder, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.
Hatami refuted the notion, saying:
Gabriel was a gentler boy, a sweeter boy (than his brother) and the defendant hated him because of that … he believed Gabriel was gay. 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.
Hatami, at one point, showed a photo of Gabriel’s body on an autopsy table, entirely covered in injuries.
He made the jury imagine Aguirre sleeping in comfortable bed night after night, while Gabriel was tied up and gagged ‘with a sock in his mouth, a shoelace tying up his hands and a bandanna over his face’.
He accused Aguirre of punching and kicking Gabriel hard enough to make a dent in the walls of the apartment. Hatami said there was no evidence to suggest he was going to come to Gabriel’s aid.
To force a child to eat cat litter and cat feces, more than once, how does somebody do that?
Defence Attorney, Michael Sklar, argued ‘his own mother disciplined him with cords and burned him with cigarettes.’
Does it seem likely that they would send (Gabriel) to school … with obvious injuries … if their plan was to slowly torture him to death?
He did not act with a cold, calculated decision to kill … it was a rash act … not deliberate and premeditated.
We’re not asking you not to punish Isauro Aguirre, but a verdict that serves the ends of justice. Follow the law down the path it takes you … do what is right and just.
Isauro Aguirre’s defense attorney tells the jury Isauro was unskilled about parenting, had no experience as a father. He said it was Pearl Fernandez who punched and kicked Gabriel and made him eat cat feces. Live on https://t.co/bWtRcs2cYL pic.twitter.com/tLPRiYTocK
— ABC7 Court News (@ABC7Courts) November 13, 2017
The social workers had a chance. The school officials had a chance. The deputies had a chance. Now it’s up to you … What are you going to do? Justice for Gabriel.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him and his 34-year-old girlfriend, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, who will be tried separately for her son’s killing.
Jurors will return Tuesday.