Gabriel Fernandez's mom Pearl who tortured him to death was abused as a teen: 'She was raped several times'
'I want to say I’m sorry to my family for what I did,' she said in a letter of apology that she read out during her sentencing
Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre were charged with the brutal murder of her eight-year-old son Gabriel.
On May 22, 2013, the eight-year-old boy was brought to the hospital after suffering months of abuse and torture at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend. Upon arrival, doctors pronounced him brain dead and he succumbed to his injuries two days later, according to a report by Oxygen.
The case is now being revisited by a new Netflix docu-series "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez" — a six-part series outlining Gabriel’s murder and how he was continuously abused due to the non-intervention of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
Following months of disturbing abuse at the hands of his mother and Isauro Aguirre, Gabriel died on May 24, 2013.
Pearl pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and murder involving torture as part of a plea deal that spared her the death penalty but gave her life in prison.
The LA Times reported on June 7, 2018, that Fernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Superior Court Judge George G Lomeli, who described Gabriel's abuse as “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.”
Fernandez, then 34, read a letter of apology during her sentencing. “I want to say I’m sorry to my family for what I did,” she said. “I wish Gabriel was alive. Every day I wish that I’d made better choices. I’m sorry to my children, and I want them to know that I love them.”
The horror mom was evaluated by clinical psychologist Deborah S Miora during the trial. According to her, Fernandez had a limited intellectual capacity. Miora told the court that Pearl, who had just studied till eighth grade, was “virtually unable to use thought to guide her behavior and temper her emotional reactions.”
During the trial, the court heard how Pearl scored in the 3rd percentile in verbal comprehension while taking a cognitive ability test in 2011 — which is almost the level of a second-grade student.
Miora also found that Pearl had a difficult upbringing at home. During a private interview, Fernandez revealed that her father was in and out of jail when she was a child, while her mother often physically abused her.
According to The Times, Pearl was also way behind her classmates in school. What's more? She started drinking and abusing methamphetamine at the age of 9 and proceeded to leave home at 11.
She reportedly confided in Miora that her uncle had tried to rape her when she was just a teenager. She also recalled how she was abducted by some men for several days and that they took turns raping her. Pearl said she contemplated suicide at the time.
Furthermore, Pearl claimed she had been abused by her lovers throughout her adult life, including Aguirre. This led to her taking opioid painkillers in large doses in the months leading up to Gabriel's death.
Pearl's family members told producers of the Netflix docu-series that she had left Gabriel in the hospital the day he was born as she didn't want to raise him. According to them, Pearl was 23 and already had two older children — Ezequiel and Virginia — when she became pregnant with Gabriel. All three children shared the same father — Arnold Contreras.
Gabriel was less than a year old when he was sent to live with Pearl's parents Robert and Sandra Fernandez in late 2005. During the trial, Robert shared in an interview that they had raised all three of Pearl's children. While Ezequiel and Virginia went to live with Pearl in 2009, Gabriel stayed with his grandparents until 2012.
Pearl is currently serving her life sentence at Chowchilla State Women’s Prison in California.