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Parents could face death penalty for torturing gay 10-year-old son

10-year-old Anthony Avalos was allegedly brutally tortured and killed at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend.
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The parents who are accused of torturing and murdering 10-year-old Anthony Avalos may face the death penalty reports The Los Angeles Times. 

On Wednesday, Avalos' mother Heather Barron, 29, and her boyfriend Kareem Leiva, 32, pleaded not guilty to murder and an added special-circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture. The latter charge now makes them eligible for capital punishment in the state of California. 

The couple was arrested at the beginning of summer 2018 after they called emergency services to their home to treat Avalos who they said had suffered a nasty fall.  

"He had a severe head injury consistent with a brain bleed, plus bruises and abrasions all about his body," said Department of Child and Family Services Director Bobby Cagle at the time. " All that indicates to me that that's non-accidental." 

The Los Angeles Times also said Avalos' parents had, "poured hot sauce on Anthony’s face and mouth, whipped the boy with a looped cord and belt, held him upside-down and dropped him on his head repeatedly."

It was also reported that the child had only just revealed that he "liked boys." It has not yet been determined of his coming out had anything to do with his death. 

If the court convicts Barron and Leiva, they could be sentenced to death or life in prison with no chance of parole.

A similar case in Southern California involving 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez happened five years ago when his mother and her boyfriend tortured him because they thought he was gay.