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Jurors want death penalty for man who tortured 8-year-old because he thought he was gay

Gabriel Fernandez died after severe torture and abuse in 2013.
Photo credit:
KTLA

The man who unmercifully tortured his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son for being gay may face the death penalty if the jury gets its way.

Isauro Aguirre, 37, was found guilty of first-degree murder on Nov. 15 for the death of Gabriel Hernandez. The jury deliberated on Monday and came back with their recommendations on Wednesday.

Fox 5 reports that Aguirre did not appear to react to the recommendations, his sentencing will be handed down on March 8.

Deputy DA John Hatami, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy DA Scott Yang, called the defendant "pure evil."

"At least there's a little bit of justice for Gabriel, and there's a little bit of justice for his family."

Wanting to spare his client from the death penalty, Defense attorney John Alan tried to make Aguirre out to be a “kind” and “compassionate” man who worked at a senior living facility.

“If Isauro is sentenced to death, his family will be devastated," he said.

During the month-long trial details of the crime against the 8-year-old victim were presented to the jury by the prosecution.

Aguirre is accused of torturing the boy because he thought he was gay. Gabriel died in May 2013 after paramedics took him to the hospital for injuries he had sustained from a beating.

Up until that time, prosecutors said Gabriel was burned with cigarettes and "whipped, shot in the face and groin with a B.B. gun, forced to eat cat litter and feces, and locked in a container 'box' for days.”

Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic James Cermak who responded to the 911 call, told the court Gabriel, had "unbelievable amount of trauma on his body." 

The boy’s mother, Pearl Fernandez is accused of conspiring with Aguirre in order to keep the abuse hidden.

A pretrial hearing for Pearl Fernandez is set for Jan. 16. Four social workers who were assigned to the case are also be tried on charges for the death of Gabriel Hernandez.