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The mother of Gabriel Fernandez filed a petition in California earlier this month asking to be resentenced after being found guilty in 2018 of the brutal torture and killing of her son.
Gabriel was killed in 2013 after months of abuse by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. The incarcerated mother filed a petition on April 1 asking to be resentenced for her son’s murder. She claims in the petition obtained by Oxygen.com that she is not the boy's killer and did not participate in the murder.
Pearl Fernandez had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and to the special circumstance allegation of murder involving torture in 2018. She took a plea deal to avoid trial and to receive a life prison term without the possibility of parole. If she went to trial, she could have faced the death penalty. Aguirre did go to trial the same year and is currently on death row at San Quentin.
Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who prosecuted both suspects, testified that for months they put out lit cigarettes on the boy's body, shot him in the face with a BB gun, made him eat cat litter, and feces, and forced him to sleep in a locked cabinet — often while bound and gagged. Gabriel was declared brain dead at a local hospital after being fatally beaten in May 2013. He died two days later.
“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be resentenced,” Hatami said in a statement, obtained by Oxygen.com. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones. Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. It is plain wrong and completely unjust.”
Hatami told Oxygen.com on Thursday that "based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of Gabriel Fernandez and physically assaulted, tortured and abused Gabriel over eight months, which led to his death.”
Gabriel would have turned 16 this year. To commemorate his life, Hatami and some of the boy's relatives gathered at “Gabriel's Tree” in Palmdale, California in February.
Hatami told Oxygen.com at the time that he wants everyone to remember the boy, his smile, and his “courage under enduring torture and abuse.”
“Don’t let Gabriel’s story, his life, his death, and his trial be for nothing,” he said. “Children are our most precious resource.
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