A teacher has testified in the murder trial in the case of a Palmdale, California, boy who died in May 2013.
Isauro Aguirre, 37, is charged in the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. He also faces the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture, NBC San Diego reported.
The boy’s mother, 34-year-old Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, will be tried separately.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Aguirre and Fernandez. Aguirre was her live-in boyfriend.
The first-grade teacher of Gabriel Fernandez said that she found a note hidden in his desk days after she learned of his death.
“I love you mom and Gabriel is a good boy,” the note said, ABC7 reported. She said that Gabriel had confided in her in 2013 and told her he was being beaten at home and she notified the Department of Children and Family Services.
“‘Sometimes my mom makes me bleed,’ and I said, ‘Where do you bleed?’ and he said, ‘Well, on my bottom cause she hits me with a belt.’ And he said, ‘You know that part with the metal on it? That part,'” Garcia can be heard saying in a recording of a phone call produced in court.
Garcia said the boy could be seen with bruises, wounds, and other injuries.
Doctor describes injuries to Gabriel Fernandez's body, testifies he was determined brain dead https://t.co/0cMjjxxVau
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“Are you sure that that’s what really happened? And then he did eventually tell me and he was really angry and he said, ‘Well, it’s cause my mom shot me in the face with a BB gun,'” Garcia said.
Garcia added that she was afraid to speak to the Department of Children and Family Services because the boy may have suffered more abuse as a result.
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In 2013, she was told that the boy went to live in Texas. Garcia said she hoped it was true, but a week later, the child was found dead.
This week, medical examiner Dr. James Ribe testified that eight BBs were recovered from the boy’s body, and he also had numerous other injuries to his feet and head. One was removed from his lung and seven other BBs were recovered during an autopsy, as NBC reported.
“All of these injuries were inflicted by a caregiver,” Ribe said, adding that the boy’s injuries could not have been self-inflicted or accidental.
The boy “probably hadn’t been eating,” Ribe said, adding that his intestines had “very little content.” His thymus gland was “barely even there” and there was an “almost a complete absence of body fat,” he testified.
“So, Gabriel wasn’t being fed?” Deputy District Attorney Scott Yang asked him.
“Correct,” Ribe told him.