Man who ‘killed child he thought was gay’ lost count of how many times he punched him

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The man accused of killing his girlfriend’s eight-year-old son because he thought the child was gay has admitted to losing count of how many times he punched him.

Isauro Aguirre used torture methods to kill Gabriel Fernandez, including beating, whipping, shooting and starving him, the prosecution has said.

Criminalists told the court that Aguirre had repeatedly slammed Gabriel’s head into the walls of their home, causing hundreds of blood stains and dents.

Man who ‘killed child he thought was gay’ lost count of how many times he punched him
Gabriel Fernandez

Earlier in the trial, Gabriel’s teenage siblings Ezequiel and Virginia caused jurors to sob uncontrollably as they described horrific torture which they said Gabriel had suffered.

Ezequiel, 16, said Aguirre shot Gabriel with a BB gun in the face and groin and beat him using wire hangers and a belt buckle.

And Gabriel’s first grade teacher Jennifer Garcia testified last week to the Los Angeles court that the boy told her about abuse which matched these allegations months before he died.


In footage revealed to the court this week, Aguirre was seen being interviewed by police just hours after Gabriel had been rushed to hospital.

He told the authorities: “I hit him. Hit him over the head.

“Maybe 10 times.

“To the head, yeah, plus another 10 times with my open hand.”

He then admitted that he had lost count of how many times he punched the child, according to ABC 7.

Also this week, Gabriel’s grandfather Robert Fernandez testified for the prosecution, cried as he told the court about the last time he spoke to his grandson.

gabriel fernandez ktla
Gabriel Fernandez (KTLA)

Robert, who previously raised Gabriel with his wife, said he loved him like a son.

“We had custody of him,” the grandfather said. “I didn’t think Pearl wanted him.”

In their last conversation, conducted over the phone, Robert told the court: “He said he wanted to come home.

“I told him that…the DCFS was investigating the case and I couldn’t bring him home, but that they were, one of these days, going to bring him home,” the grandfather said, according to CBS Los Angeles.

“And I promised that to him.”

Gabriel Fernandez (abc7)
Gabriel Fernandez (abc7)

Robert said that at one point while Gabriel was living with him, Aguirre called to say he wanted to take the child to a barbecue.

Aguirre promised he would bring him home in time for school the next day.

Robert only saw him a few times after that, before he died.

In early 2013, Gabriel told his teacher that he was being beaten at home, information which the teacher immediately reported to the Department of Children and Family Services.

Isauro Aguirre (KTLA)
Isauro Aguirre (KTLA)

The court heard a recording of a call Garcia made to the authorities, in which she says that Gabriel had told her: “Sometimes my mom makes me bleed.

“I said: ‘Where do you bleed?’ and he says: ‘Well, on my bottom ’cause she hits me with a belt.’”

“And he says, ‘you know that part with the metal on it? That part.’”

Jennifer Garcia (abc7)
Jennifer Garcia (abc7)

The teacher told the court that over the next few months, she saw multiple bruises, burns, wounds and other injuries on the child.

She also said that Gabriel came to school wearing girls’ clothes.

The prosecution had earlier accused Aguirre of forcing the child to wear pink leggings and a dress to the school.

Pearl Fernandez (abc7)
Gabriel’s mother Pearl Fernandez (abc7)

In March, four social workers were charged with child abuse for their roles in Gabriel’s death, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar saying that “red flags were everywhere.”

The social workers have pleaded not guilty.

Gabriel’s mother Pearl Fernandez will be tried separately.

Both she and Aguirre, who have pleaded not guilty, could face the death penalty.

Watch the latest report here: