It was a gloomy courtroom today at the trial for 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, who was killed on May 22, 2013, by his mother, Pearl Fernandez, and her significant other Isauro Aguirre. Nearly five years later, Gabriel's brother Ezequiel took the stand and his testimony brought to light all the disturbing details in the case of Aguirre, who is accused of torturing and killing Gabriel.
Fernandez, 34, will have a separate trial and, although she has not necessarily been accused of killing her son, she still took part in the abuse.
Gabriel's brother Ezequiel, who was only 12 years old at the time, revealed that his mother's boyfriend would pepper spray the young child in the face and force him to eat cat feces and litter. "My mom and her boyfriend made Gabriel eat spoiled stuff or expired stuff. One thing I remember is expired spinach. He threw it up and they made him eat it off the table," Ezequiel said.
The prosecutor then asked, "Did the defendant make Gabriel eat throw up?" Ezequiel answered, "Yes."
According to Ezequiel, his mom and her boyfriend would beat him up together and laugh during the beatings. They even had a small cabinet in their home that they would lock the boy up in, bound and gagged, sometimes for hours without any food, water or access to a bathroom.
Ezequiel said Aguirre and his mother threatened to abuse him as well if he ever opened his mouth about what was happening to his brother or tried to stop them. He was also instructed to lie about Gabriel's injuries and say he was playing if they ever come up. Fernandez told him to lie to social workers and she would conceal his bruises with makeup.
There was even a time when Ezequiel was ordered to punch Gabriel, and while it was hard for the now 16-year-old to explain his feelings at the time, he told the court that he whispered in his brother's ear to fall when he pretended to hit him.
According to Ezequiel, his mother and Aguirre only beat Gabriel, but not himself, his sister Virginia or other brother Arnold.
(Photo: WABC-TV, ABC 7NY)