A Palmdale woman who pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of her 8-year-old son—who was routinely beaten, starved, forced to sleep in a closet and tortured until his 2013 death—has filed court papers seeking a new hearing in her case.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, who was convicted along with her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, in the May 2013 killing of Gabriel Fernandez, alleges in the petition for re-sentencing that she could not now be convicted of first-degree murder or second-degree murder because of recent changes made in state law.
A hearing on the petition for resentencing is set for June 1 before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli, who sentenced the now 37-year-old woman in June 2018 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the Legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be re-sentenced,’’ Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones.
“Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. Based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of little Gabriel. The evidence clearly showed that Pearl Fernandez physically assaulted, abused, tortured and starved Gabriel over an eight-month span which lead to his death.’’
The prosecutor vowed to be at the hearing and to “continue to fight for justice for Gabriel.’’
Fernandez pleaded guilty in February 2018 and admitted the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture. She had been facing a possible death sentence if the case against her had gone to trial and if she had been convicted as charged.
The plea came about two months after jurors recommended that Aguirre be sentenced to death for the boy’s killing. Aguirre, now 40, is now on death row.
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel went to the family’s home in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale on May 22, 2013, in response to a call that Gabriel was not breathing. He was declared brain-dead that day and taken off life support two days later.