Mom gets life, boyfriend gets death penalty in California case of ‘animalistic’ child abuse

The mother of an 8-year-old California boy tortured to death got a life sentence for the horrific murder Thursday while her boyfriend got the death penalty.

The sentences capped a high-profile trial that detailed the stunning abuse endured by little Gabriel Fernandez before his death on May 24, 2013.

Officials said Gabriel was discovered not breathing inside his family’s Palmdale home with injuries that included a fractured skull, broken ribs, cigarette burns on his skin and teeth knocked out by a baseball bat.

They said his mom Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre subjected the boy to torture and abuse that included beating, starvation and imprisonment in a cabinet.

Gabriel was also shot with a BB gun, they said.

“In my almost 20 years on the bench in this court, this case is without a doubt the most aggravated and egregious case this court has ever witnessed,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli said Thursday, according to KTLA.

The judge said the case was “worse than animalistic” because “even animals know how to take care of their young.”

Prosecutors said Aguirre and Fernandez worked to hide their mistreatment of Gabriel by using makeup to cover up his bruises.

Pearl Fernandez’s sentence comes with the possibility of parole. In a statement to the court, she said she was sorry.

“Every day, I wish I made better choices,” she said. “I wish I could have saved Gabriel.”



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