The mother of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez and her then-boyfriend will plead guilty to murder and torture charges in the boy's death, sparing them the death penalty, two sources working closely on the case confirmed to NBC4 on Wednesday.
Pearl Fernandez and then-boyfriend Isauro Aguirre will receive life in prison without parole in exchange for their guilty pleas to first degree murder and torture with special circumstances. Both waived their right to appeal and will spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
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.
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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 Gabriel's death on May 28, 2013.
The case sparked a series of protests throughout the county through the summer, calling on county officials to reform child protective services in which Gabriel had been in the custody of.
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, a club which knocked out his teeth. He was shot with a BB gun and pepper spray. He was whipping 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.