The pretrial hearing originally scheduled last week for Pearl Sinthia Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre, the Palmdale couple charged in the fatal beating of the woman’s 8-year-old son Gabriel, has been delayed until Dec. 3.
The couple appeared in court and the postponement was announced after a brief conference at sidebar.
A group of people all wearing blue, who gathered at the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles as a show of support to encourage “Justice for Gabriel,” said they were disappointed to learn the hearing was postponed.
They had been informed that a plea agreement was reached, which they considered good news, because it would have put the couple behind bars for life.
“We had been told that they were going to enter a guilty plea, and now it seems that there has been a change,” said Amanda, known as an administrator of the Web site “Gabriel’s Justice,” that is the touch stone for updates in the case.
Emily Carranza, a cousin of Gabriel Fernandez, voiced her outrage on the site after learning of the delay and finding that Aguirre had decided not to accept the plea agreement. “He is such a coward,” she wrote.
Carranza, who previously spoke to the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol, explained that if the couple is granted a jury trial that could cause years of delays, which could cause further trauma to Gabriel’s siblings who would have to testify.
She also pointed out that Gabriel’s mother and her boyfriend could exercise a series of appeals and might not ever be given a death penalty.
The child endured daily beatings, was sprayed with pepper spray, was locked in a cupboard and had socks stuffed in his mouth to muffle his cries. He was made to eat cat feces and swallow his own vomit and was shot in his groin with a b-b gun, had his teeth knocked out and was beaten with a bat.
Following his death, examiners of Gabriel’s body compared the torture he endured to that of POW prisoners.
The county Department of Social Services took no action to remove the child, although it was aware of numerous reports of abuse, including from his teacher who reported injuries to the child. When social workers arrived at the home, Gabriel’s mother would claim the injuries were self-inflicted, and social workers noted the case as inconclusive or unsubstantiated.
Carranza told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that one social worker told her to “quit making up stories.”
“This makes me so upset, this needs to be over. Gabriel was just 8-years-old. He deserves justice once and for all,” Carranza said.