A man accused in the beating and torture death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez has decided not to take a plea deal to murder charges, according to sources close to the case.
Isauro Aguirre has not agreed to the deal that calls for life in prison without the possibility of parole and no appeals, the sources told NBC4 Thursday. The plan was for Aguirre and his ex-girlfriend, Pearl Fernandez, Gabriel's mother, to plead guilty to first degree murder and torture charges with special circumstances, sources close to the case said last week.
The defendants have until a Dec. 3 court hearing to accept the deal or not and go to trial on murder charges. The plea deal was officially submitted in court on Thursday.
Gabriel was found barely breathing in his mother’s Palmdale apartment on May 22, 2013 and died just two days later. He showed signs of having been beaten, restrained, shot with a BB gun in the groin and other torture.
The day after he was discovered, Pearl Fernandez and Aguirre were arrested in connection with his torture death. They were charged with capital murder in the boy's death on May 28, 2013.
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The case sparked a series of protests throughout the county through the summer, calling on county officials to reform child protective services in whose custody Gabriel was in.
Four social workers would be discharged in connection with the Fernandez case and a blue-ribbon panel released a scathing report, recommending changes to the way the county handles abused children.
In the criminal court case, testimony revealed that Gabriel was beat with bats and a club which knocked out his teeth. He was shot with a BB gun and pepper spray. He was whipped with the metal part of a belt over eight months.
Gabriel's maternal grandfather has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the county and the DCFS.