Tuesday 20 August 2019

Security guard 'liked torturing' girlfriend's eight-year-old son, court hears

Prosecutors allege Gabriel Fernandez was killed because Isauro Aguirre because 'he was gay'

Gabriel Fernandez
Gabriel Fernandez

Harriet Agerholm

A security guard "got off" on torturing his eight-year-old stepson, who he repeatedly forced to eat cat litter and hit so hard he left indentations in the walls of the family home, a murder trial heard.

Isauro Aguirre is also accused of starving Gabriel Fernandez, who died on 22 May 2013. The 37-year-old allegedly beat the boy to death.  

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Mr Aguirre, who also faces a special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

Mr Aguirre's defence lawyer accepted during closing arguments that his client killed Gabriel, but claimed he did so in a fit of rage and the murder was not premeditated.

If a jury decides he did not deliberate or plan the killing beforehand, they will deliver a verdict of murder in the second degree.

Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami told the Los Angeles Superior Court that Mr Aguirre believed his stepson "was gay". 

“Gabriel was a gentler boy, a sweeter boy and the defendant hated him because of that," he said, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

He added: "The defendant actually liked torturing Gabriel. He got off on it… He is a murderer and he is a torturer.”

Mr Hatami claimed the defendant would sleep comfortably at night while Gabriel was bound and gagged in a cabinet in the same room.

Defending Michael Sklar said the jury was required to find Mr Aguirre guilty of second-degree murder, but not murder in the first degree.

Recognising  how hard it would be for jurors to "put aside your complete horror", he said they must consider the evidence "dispassionately".

Mr Aguirre "exploded in a rage of anger" and lost control momentarily, he said, adding that he tried to revive the child after he fell unconscious.

The trial continues.

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