Facing justice. The murder of Gabriel Fernandez is detailed in a heartbreaking new Netflix docuseries, The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, which showcases how the 8-year-old was brutally tortured and killed by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre. After hearing about the horrific abuse the young boy suffered prior to his untimely and tragic death, many people are curious about what happened to his killers. Find out more details, below.
Did They Plead Guilty or Not Guilty?
Fernandez’s mother and her boyfriend initially entered not guilty pleas. She ultimately worked out a plea deal with prosecutors while Aguirre went to trial and was found guilty.
Pearl pleaded guilty in February 2018 and admitted to first-degree murder, which allowed her to avoid the death penalty. Her boyfriend received the death sentence after he was convicted of first-degree murder with the added circumstance of intentional murder by torture.
Are They Still Behind Bars?
Fernandez’s mother is serving a life sentence at Central California Women’s Facility located in Chowchilla, and she will never have the chance to appeal her sentence.
In April 2021, Pearl filed court documents asking for a new hearing in her case, according to the Daily News. In the petition for re-sentencing, she claimed that could not now be convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder because of recent changes made in state law.
A judge denied Pearl’s petition for resentencing in a court hearing on June 1, 2021, 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 added 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.”
Aguirre is still alive and currently on death row at San Quentin Jail in California. He is one of 737 inmates on death row, according to Newsweek.
What Happened to Gabriel?
The sweet-natured little boy moved in with his mother and her boyfriend in 2012 — they apparently wanted to acquire welfare benefits. While living with them, he was tortured in unimaginable ways. His sibling testified that he was forced to eat cat litter and was locked in a cabinet.
On May 22, 2013, the young boy’s mother called the cops and said he wasn’t breathing. Fernandez was found naked and beaten to death by Pearl and her boyfriend when paramedics arrived on the scene. He had a cracked skull, shattered ribs, severe burns and BB pellets buried in his body. Within two days, he was declared brain dead and tragically taken off life support.
“This series is a quest for justice,” says director Brian Knappenberger. “And it’s a quest for answering some of the questions about what happened here, to some degree just exploring this mystery and coming to terms with happened to Gabriel.”
The six-part docuseries is streaming on Netflix now.
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