Netflix’s The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez has highlighted the story of Gabriel Fernandez, who died in 2013 after being subjected to torture and abuse. The docuseries exposes the failure of the system that was supposed to protect children like him. Because the reports of abuse were not acted upon, Gabriel died at the hands of his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. After the docuseries’ release, viewers are asking if Gabriel has received justice. The duo have received sentences for their cruel act, and Aguirre is facing his punishment for inflicting the fatal assault on Gabriel.
|About Isauro Aguirre|
|Birth||June 13, 1980|
|Charges||First Degree Murder|
|Current Facility||San Quentin State Prison|
|Sentence Begin Date||06/13/2018|
Isauro Aguirre Worked as a Security Guard
Before he was arrested, Isauro Aguirre (born June 13, 1980) was a security guard employed by AVL Private Security since October 2012. He was working security at the Vallarta Market in Palmdale.
Before he would find a security job, he was a caregiver and a driver at a retirement home. Surprisingly, his former employers spoke highly about Aguirre in court and were shocked to learn about his heinous act.
His former boss who testified as a character witness in court said that Aguirre was an excellent caregiver and the elderly residents remembered him fondly.
Aguirre Took Gabriel Fernandez Away from His Grandparents
Pearl Fernandez and Arnold Contreras’ son, Gabriel Fernandez, was raised by Pearl’s parents and uncle for the first seven years of his life. Contreras had been in prison and Pearl reportedly was not interested in raising the child.
Her two older children, Ezequiel and Virginia, were also living with her parents, Sandra and Robert Fernandez. After being raised by her uncle and his partner for four years, Gabriel came into custody of Sandra and Robert as well.
Pearl was dating Isauro Aguirre when she took Ezequiel and Virginia to live with her in Palmdale, California in 2009. Gabriel stayed with his grandparents, but at one point Pearl, Isauro, and the two older children moved into Robert and his wife’s home.
During that time, Robert and Sandra attempted to get Pearl to bond with her youngest child. Meanwhile, they were having their suspicions about Aguirre.
Robert testified in court that one day, Aguirre said he was going to take Gabriel to school and then bring him back home. However, when he didn’t return with the child, Sandra had called 911, the recording of which was played in court.
According to several reports, Pearl got custody of Gabriel in 2012, when he was seven years old. Prosecutors alleged that Aguirre convinced her to take custody of the child to get welfare payments.
Meanwhile, the devastated grandparents and other relatives filed reports stating that Pearl had a history of neglecting her kids. They also complained that Gabriel was being abused under their care, to no avail.
Aguirre and Fernandez Tortured Gabriel to Death
Gabriel lived with his mother, siblings, and his mother’s boyfriend for eight months. He was in a new school and, according to testimonies, rarely got to see the relatives who cared so much for him.
His teacher in school and relatives found out that he was being abused by Fernandez and Aguirre. They had reported the abuse to authorities, who failed to act to remove him from the home.
While all three children had been neglected by Pearl, Gabriel would end up being singled out by Aguirre, and bore the brunt of abuse by his parents. As his teacher noted in court, the injuries, abrasions, burns, and cuts only increased as the violence escalated over time.
Pearl had left Gabriel with her uncle Michael Lemos Carranza and his partner David Martinez soon after he was born. Carranza raised him for four years before Sandra and Robert got custody, and the four of them were active in raising the boy in a loving household.
When Pearl got custody of Gabriel, she and Aguirre mocked, humiliated, and abused him for his apparent feminine traits, according to testimony. Ezequiel and Virginia testified that Pearl had sometimes forced Gabriel to wear dresses to school and if he changed into other clothes, she got abusive.
Prosecutors alleged homophobia on the couple’s part was the underlying reason for the escalating abuse. He was starved and locked in a box. They assaulted him with belt buckles and BB guns and even forced the child to eat cat litter and his own vomit.
On May 22, 2013, Aguirre had beaten Gabriel until he was unresponsive. Pearl would call 911 claiming that the child was not breathing after falling and hitting his head on the dresser.
But emergency responders saw the clear signs of abuse. They rushed Gabriel to the hospital, where he was determined to be brain-dead. Eight-year-old Gabriel died on May 24, 2013, after eight months in his mother’s care.
Aguirre’s Defense Claimed He Has a Learning Disability
Aguirre and Fernandez were arrested and tried for Gabriel’s death. They had separate trials, where their defense teams argued that both had limited intellectual capacities to realize the gravity of their actions.
Pearl had an alleged abusive childhood and claimed to be a victim of domestic violence. A psychologist determined she tested at the second-grade level. However, prosecutors painted a picture of a woman smart enough to fool social workers and get her kids to lie.
It’s suggested that Aguirre’s own intellectual difficulties made it possible for Fernandez to influence him. According to one testimony, Aguirre had a possible learning disability and required special education as a child, but didn’t get it.
School records indicate he was held back in the ninth and 11th grades and that he was 19 years old by his second attempt to complete his junior year in high school. It appears he didn’t graduate from high school.
Pearl alleged that she had been abused by her boyfriends, including Aguirre. However, her relatives said that they had seen Pearl abuse both Contreras, her children’s father, and Aguirre.
Aguirre Was Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder
Aguirre showed no signs of remorse or regret for his actions during the trial. While he inflicted the final fatal assault on Gabriel, Pearl was involved and had not stopped him.
In 2018, they were both found guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of intentional murder by torture. The judge ripped into them for their cruelty while announcing their sentence.
Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for both of them. However, Fernandez took a plea deal that got her life without parole.
Aguirre received the death penalty, a sentence that his attorney argued was imbalanced. He now spends his condemned status at San Quentin State Prison in California.