Viewers tuning into Netflix‘s The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez are horrified to hear how mom Pearl Fernandez treated her son. While the true-crime docuseries breaks down exactly what happened to the 8-year-old boy, viewers also want to know what happened to his mom after his death. Appropriately enough, she’s set to spend the rest of her life in a prison in Chowchilla, California.
Pearl was arrested for her role in the abuse of her son on May 23, 2013. She was initially brought into custody on charges of felony child endangerment and child abuse. After Gabriel passed away in the hospital following an abusive episode perpetrated by his mother and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, the charges against her were changed to murder with the special circumstance of torture.
“A 29-year-old mother and her 32-year-old boyfriend were charged today with one count each of capital murder following the fatal beating of the woman’s 8-year-old son, who died Friday,” read a statement the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office shared with The Antelope Valley Times on May 28, 2013. “Prosecutors will decide at a later date whether to seek the death penalty for each defendant.”
It seemed that the prosecutors were leaning towards asking the judge for a possible sentence of capital punishment if Pearl was found guilty. Instead of going through a trial, however, the mom agreed to a plea deal. Per The Los Angeles Times, on February 15, 2018, she pled guilty to first-degree murder, admitting that the “killing of her son Gabriel was intentional and involved the infliction of torture.” On June 7, 2018, the judge sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
According to the L.A. Times, the judge called the mother’s actions “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.” In addition to the sentence he handed down, he also wished that the parent would face some karmic retribution from her conscience. “I hope you think about the pain you caused this child and that it tortures you,” he told her. “I rarely say that.”
In 2020, Pearl is still serving her sentence in Chowchilla State Women’s Prison. She was admitted to the prison, the United States’ largest facility for female inmates, on June 21, 2018.
Pearl filed a petition to get a new hearing in her case in April 2021, the Daily News reported at the time. She claimed that shew could not now be convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder because of recent changes made in state law, according to her request for resentencing.
During her court hearing on June 1, 2021, a judge denied Pearl’s petition for resentencing, In Touch can confirm. The judge said as part of her initial plea, Pearl had waived all of her rights and said she understood the consequences of her plea. The judge explained that the new statute on which Pearl based her petition does not apply to her case because she was “a direct participant or actual killer of the child.”
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