The mother of an 8-year-old boy from Palmdale, California has pleaded guilty to murdering him in 2013. On Thursday, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, admitted in a Los Angeles courtroom that she tortured her son Gabriel to death intentionally.
According to the Los Angeles Times, because the mother pleaded guilty she avoided a trial. She does now potentially face life behind bars with no possibility of parole, however. Originally it was believed that prosecutors wanted to fight for the death penalty for Fernandez but her defense lawyers said the mother’s low IQ made her an inappropriate candidate for a death sentence.
After the mother agreed to the conditions of her plea agreement, Deputy Dist. Atty. Jon Hatami told her, “You will never be paroled. You will never be released from prison. Do you understand and agree to this?"
Fernandez responded affirmatively and then her public defender comforted her, according to the Los Angeles Times. She will be sentenced this summer. Her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre, 37, was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Gabriel a few months ago and he will be sentenced next month.
The boy was discovered naked and brain-dead, with a cracked skull, shattered ribs, severe burns and ridden with BB pellets, including one in his lung, inside of his home in 2013. Two days later, he was taken off life support and he died, according to People. Hatami claimed that Aguirre tortured Gabriel because he thought that the 8-year-old child might be gay. He said that the child was often forced to eat cat feces and even his own vomit, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hatami also pointed out that Gabriel often slept in a cabinet with his ankles handcuffed and his hands bound.
"No human with a heart and soul could do that to an innocent little boy," Hatami told jurors during Aguirre’s trial.
Gabriel’s horrible death prompted criminal charges against L.A. County social workers who failed to help the child despite multiple investigations and reports of abuse.
"It brings relief," Gabriel's cousin, Emily Carranza, Los Angeles Times after the mother accepted the plea agreement. "I know she's never going to be out, and I know she's never going to hurt another child."