Jury still weighing evidence in torture, death of 8-year-old Palmdale boy

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
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Jurors are reviewing evidence to determine the fate of Isauro Aguirre in the trial over the torture and murder of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Accused child killer Isauro Aguirre will have to wait at least another day to learn his fate.

The 37-year-old man is accused, along with his girlfriend Pearl Fernandez, of torturing and killing her 8-year-old son Gabriel.

Tuesday the jury had no questions or requests from the court. According to the prosecutor that's a sign the jurors are reviewing voluminous evidence which includes six binders of 200 pages each.

The photos and records document an 8-month period in which Aguirre and Pearl Fernandez allegedly abused and tortured Gabriel.

Opposing sides differ on whether Aguirre's abuse was premeditated and intentional.

First-degree murder with a special allegation of torture requires a finding that 8-year-old Gabriel was systematically tortured in the months he was in the custody of the defendants. This count makes Aguirre eligible for the death penalty though jurors are explicitly instructed not to consider potential penalties.

Aguirre's defense concedes he killed the child but alleges that the final blows were fueled by rage and that there was no premeditation. The defense says Aguirre is guilty of no more than second-degree murder.

Outside the courtroom, ABC7 Twitter followers have been weighing in on an informal poll.

The non-scientific survey looks at the question of first or second degree murder.

It asks: "Did Gabriel die because of sudden rage or 8 months of torture?" As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 90 percent were siding with the prosecution that Gabriel died because of systematic torture.

One follower notes the difficulty of drawing a line, saying: "Both. 8 months he was being hurt, and that day (of the final beating) topped it off."

The autopsy noted two causes of death: the pattern of abuse and blunt force trauma.

Tuesday the only proceeding in the case was a brief meeting in chambers. If Aguirre is found guilty of first-degree murder and the torture allegation there will be another hearing on Nov. 27.

The same panel will hear evidence on whether Aguirre should be put to death.