The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (2020) s01e02 Episode Script

Evil in This Courtroom

[distant siren wailing.]
This case was big.
Talking about hundreds of witnesses, thousands of documents.
It ended up being over 1,200 exhibits.
We were nervous.
As a prosecutor, you do kind of think about how it's gonna go down.
It is somewhat like being an actor.
You know, it's real life, but you do have to go over in your head how you're gonna convey something to a group of strangers, and are they going to understand what you're trying to explain? We work really hard in trying to present it to the jury, in a way that they would feel what we were feeling, in a way that Gabriel's not there, but you want them to hear Gabriel.
In the DA's office, for several years, probably dating back to the OJ Simpson case, former district attorney Gil Garcetti created the family violence unit.
And the Family Violence Unit was supposed to handle domestic violence.
But we noticed that some of these child abuse cases were very complex.
We realized that we needed to know more about medicine and science, and how to age bruises, and how to look for evidence in a pattern of abuse, and how to look at old medical records, and put together a case.
And so, I created the Complex Child Abuse Unit.
As prosecutors, we needed to up our game a little bit.
My unit's the Child Abuse Unit, One of the first of the nation that I know of.
And all we handle is cases where children were killed or cases where, because of the child abuse, they have some really serious injuries.
There's three prosecutors in that unit.
We get familiar with a lot of the detectives in LAPD, and the Sheriff's Department who just work with child abuse.
In big trials, I do a little research on the defense attorneys.
I can tell you this regarding Michael Sklar, he is very well-known in Los Angeles.
He's handled some major cases.
He's been doing this for almost 30 years.
I've been doing it for a little more than ten.
I am a little intimidated.
I had never met Judge Lomeli.
And from the first time I saw him, I was like, he's a good judge.
He's a smart judge.
He's a fair judge.
Are we strong on this? - [woman.]
Yeah, we're good.
- All right.
We'll be getting started in just, uh, a couple minutes.
OK, in the audience.
This case is gonna be very emotional, so if at any point you find yourself getting a little overwhelmed or losing your composure, please step out of the courtroom, compose yourself, and then come back inside.
We're going to be bringing out the parties in just a few moments.
Make sure your cell phones are turned off as far as the ring capacity.
I understand the jurors are present.
Is that right? - [bailiff.]
Yes, Your Honor.
- All right.
Initially, both defendants were to be tried together, by separate juries, but her attorneys filed an Atkins Motion, claiming that she suffered from intellectual disabilities, and that would cause a delay, in terms of Isauro Aguirre's trial.
So the court separated the two.
All right.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Good morning.
We are prepared to go forward on the matter of the People vs.
We have all counsel present.
We have the defendant and all jurors.
Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached the point where the attorneys are allowed to give opening statements and an opening statement, simply put, is kind of like a road map of what each attorney expects the evidence is going to show.
I'm the leader of this whole team.
It's not just a team sitting at my table.
It's all the witnesses.
It's all the family members, it's all the community.
It's all the police.
It's everybody's looking at you.
I'll charge Mr.
Hatami and ask you if you are prepared to do that.
- [Hatami.]
We are, Your Honor.
- All right, you may proceed.
Good morning, ladies and gentleman.
Good morning.
On behalf of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, I'd like to thank you for being a juror in this case.
The evidence will show this case is about one thing.
And that is the systematic torture of a helpless and innocent child.
This is Gabriel Fernandez.
He was a happy and healthy seven-year-old boy when he went to live with the defendant in 2012.
After eight months, of being with the defendant, this is how Gabriel looked.
This is the defendant.
When he was arrested, he was six feet two inches.
He weighed 270 pounds.
And this is Gabriel.
When he died, he was eight years old.
He was four foot one.
He weighed 59 pounds.
Gabriel Fernandez had a tough beginning.
When he was born, um, his mom gave him away.
And he was raised by his grandparents and his uncle.
And they showed love to him and he showed love to them.
And I think throughout his life, he always wondered why, you know, his mom didn't love him.
He was a sweet kid.
He had a sweet spirit.
Children are innocent and they're very unconditionally loving and so I think everybody can see probably a little Gabriel in them or a little Gabriel in, you know, their children.
What are the charges? The charges you'll have to decide, ladies and gentlemen, the charges, at the end of this that I'll ask, if you find the defendant guilty of, is first-degree murder.
And that the murderer was intentional, and involving infliction of torture.
[Hatami's voice.]
As far as I know, it's the worst case of child abuse we've ever seen.
You don't hear about that many child abuse cases, where we're seeking the death penalty.
It's rare.
[crowd chattering.]
[Chadburn's voice.]
So I've been at the trial since its inception.
This is a death penalty case.
It means something to be a death penalty case in California.
[males newscaster.]
San Quentin contains the state's only death row for men.
725 murderers, cop killers, child killers and serial killers.
The question seems to be posed automatically at this point, whether or not Isauro Aguirre is a monster.
He, from the very beginning, wanted to fight this case.
Early on, a clergyman snuck audio equipment in, to visit him in jail, and released audio of him speaking in Spanish to Univision.
[speaking Spanish.]
One of the accused broke their silence from prison and told Oswaldo Borraez that his hands are clean.
[Isauro speaking Spanish.]
They want me to plead guilty to something I haven't done.
They want me to sign a paper, that says I am guilty of something I haven't done, justifying all that, for I know that, in my heart and in my mind, in my soul, that I am innocent.
My hands are clean.
People werewondering how could anybody do this? What was their motivation? Was Isauro being motivated by this black widow temptress? Was Pearl an evil sociopath or was she a drug addict? Was Isauro Aguirre jealous of Gabriel's attention that he took from Pearl? Even more important, how could people have seen all this abuse, with Gabriel Fernandez and not intervene? John Alan and Michael Sklar are trying to show that Isauro was either in a blind moment of rage, at the moment he beat Gabriel to death, or he was just heavily under the influence of his girlfriend.
The heaviest lift on a murder trial would fall with the prosecution having to illustrate that this was an intentional act.
You have got to have concrete evidence, of their state of mind.
Imagine how difficult that is, because you're coming in after the fact.
And you know that that person is going to be have led a double life.
The prosecution has to show that that was his intent without a shadow of a doubt, that he intended to kill this child.
Your Honor, the People's first witness is firefighter James Cermak.
All right.
Firefighter Cermak, if you would, approach the witness stand.
Pearl first calls 911, and so the fire department then immediately sends out paramedics and EMT.
How long have you been a firefighter/paramedic? Nineteen years.
And on May 22nd 2013, did you respond to an apartment complex located in Palmdale, California County of Los Angeles? Yes.
And could you tell the jury what's the first thing you remember when you got to that location? [Cermak.]
The very first thing I remember is there was a maybe ten-year-old boy that was outside.
And I believe it was early in the morning.
And I just thought it was strange that a ten-year-old was outside at that time in the morning.
And he was, uh, pointing up to the stairs, directing us up to the stairs.
And when you say "we" who was with you? Sean Fox was my partner on the squad that day.
He was driving.
He was directed into the back bedroom.
People call Firefighter/Paramedic Sean Fox.
All right, sir.
Most firefighters don't testify.
But they do in child abuse cases.
And all of them, that was the first time they ever testified.
How long have you been a firefighter/paramedic? Um, 20 over 20 years.
Uh, I was the first, uh, in the apartment complex.
- Did you see Gabriel in the bedroom? - I did.
He was on the floor, face up.
I could tell, from you know, not right on top of the bed, a close distance, that he was, uh, what appeared to be in, uh in a severe distress.
I instructed the male subject at the house to pick up the boy, and bring him out into the living room 'cause I had my hands full at that point.
Uh, we noticed that the child was not breathing.
Uh, he had no heartbeat, so he was in cardiac arrest.
So we started CPR.
At that point, it was a team effort.
Then we started compressions.
We started ventilations.
And we gave epinephrine, which is adrenaline, to try to restart the heart.
This was about four and a half years ago.
Why do you remember that, Firefighter/Paramedic Fox? Sorry.
I remember that call because of the, um the nature of the call itself.
What turned out what was what came in as a a full arrest of a child.
Um It turned out to be the most haunting call I've ever been on.
We had no idea what was happening, obviously, so you just think it's a a cardiac arrest but what had happened is, when we were doing CPR, um we just started noticing all the trauma, on his body.
It was a set of facts, that was ex extremely brutal.
And John and very very clear idea, in his mind, his theory behind the prosecution of this case, which was bringing everything forward to the jury.
Letting them see um the amount of callousness.
If you look at those photographs, it's the worst of the worst.
I've never seen anything like it before.
Even though Gabriel's gone, each one of those photographs Gabriel's talking.
I think this photograph, Scott, is important, because it does show the BBs on his legs.
It also shows the the burned spoon mark.
Yeah, and the liga yes, you're right that was you're right.
The ligature marks clearly are shown, so I think it's an important, um, - photograph to show to the jury.
- Absolutely.
Um, and in this photograph does show, um, some of the injury to the neck, as far as the scrubbing and the choking, the injuries to the chin.
Um, it also does show the fact that he did have injuries in or appeared to be even whip marks from the the data cord on both sides of his chest.
And then, this photograph, it also showed that almost every one of Gabriel's fingers was injured, um [Yang.]
And he potentially was trying to defend himself.
Cermak and Sean Fox, they thought that, you know, Gabriel had like a disease.
This wasn't somebody who had, you know, injuries or abrasions or things like this.
This was somebody who had some sort of, you know, skin disease or something.
Like, he had rashes, like like abrasions to his face, uh, strangulation marks around his neck, his ankles were swollen.
Uh, I believe his left palm looked like it was burned.
Bite marks, bruises, head to toe.
Uh, skull fractures, depressed skull fracture.
Uh like, little holes, as if he was shot like with a BB gun or something.
I just you just the more you looked, the more you saw.
It's just, it was just unbelievable.
You mention that it was unbelievable.
- Yes.
- [Hatami.]
Why do you say that? The amount of damage inflicted to a child.
I don't think they even, um have come to, like, grips with what they saw.
I'm not sure they'll ever gonna come to grips with what they saw.
The People's next witness, Your Honor, is Battalion Chief Anthony Buzzerio.
Initially, when the emergency response people came to the apartment, they did say that Isauro and Pearl didn't seem upset about Gabriel.
The statements they were making didn't make sense.
What does that mean? Uh for the condition of the patient, they didn't seem to be, consistent with, um with the level of severity of my general impression of the patient.
They were nervous, concerned, argumentative, standoffish.
We wanted to make it absolutely clear, that this was not a situation where, first responders and law enforcement arriving, and the parents of the victim were in a state of hysteria.
This was not the case.
Their actions weren't consistent with someone who cared about the child.
Do you see that photograph, sir? Yes.
And who is that? [man.]
That's Gabriel's mother, Pearl.
She kept asking about her daughter and her other son, but never asked about Gabriel, about what he was what was happening with him.
Or where he may be going, if he was transported.
Did she express any concern to you about anything? Her cats.
What, if anything, do you recall her saying? She, um, was concerned that they'd be left in the apartment alone, um, in a cage.
And what does that photograph depict? Um, carrying a crate of cats.
They were also arguing with each other at some point, or appeared to the paramedics, they were arguing with each other.
You know, they were saying things like Gabriel was dirty, Gabriel was a liar, you know, Gabriel hit himself.
I remember her stating, "This boy's a liar, and no matter what, he's going to lie to you.
" [Hatami.]
And did she say that in the presence of the male? Yes, sir.
Do you remember what the male said? I remember him making one comment, that I remember, stating that the boy was gay.
Both Isauro and Pearl call him "gay.
" They make him wear a dress.
In fact, when they went looked at the apartment, all of his clothes were bagged up under the sink, with the exception of two dresses hanging in the closet.
Gabriel was a softer, sweeter boy.
And Isauro Aguirre was not only a security guard, but he was very, you know, much more manly, more macho.
We didn't have any evidence that Gabriel was actually gay, but we have evidence that Isauro Aguirre believed he was gay.
And we have evidence that when he was beating him to death, he was calling him "gay.
" And I think you can make a reasonable inference from that.
There was some people, who wanted or thought that we should file a hate crime, uh, allegation in the case.
[group applauding.]
People ask me, "Why didn't you charge a hate crime"? And so, at the beginning of the case, when I was assigned the case, my team and I, we did talk about that.
The first thing Isauro Aguirre said was Gabriel was gay.
And why would that even be important? You have a dying child.
What is it important that he's gay or not? Or that you think he's gay or not? [man.]
That's the first thing he said when the first responders got there? So what would be the relevance of that? If not, you're trying to give some sort of motive or reason why this happened.
And so, in many of our cases in the DA's office, we do, uh, sit down and strategize and talk about, in hate crimes cases, "Are we gonna charge a hate crime?" When we present things to the jury, we wanna present it to them in a way that it's easy for them to understand it.
This case had a special circumstance, which means it was a death penalty case.
So adding a hate crime allegation, which could only give me maybe two, three or four years, having the jury have to decide that allegation beyond a reasonable doubt, it's much more difficult, and strategically not as good as using it as a motive.
Gabriel's case is more about child abuse, and about murder and torture.
However, it is a hate crime also.
Everything that you can think about, Gabriel had went through.
In addition to the injuries, was also the stress.
And that's the real thing that people need to understand, is the stress of being beat every day, the stress of not having any toys, the stress of being ashamed of who you are, the stress of feeling it's your fault, being scared, every day.
I want you to take a look at something for me.
The evidence will show, ladies and gentlemen, that in the defendant's bedroom was this cubby.
And in the same bedroom that the defendant slept in every night, Gabriel was in here.
Tied up and bound.
Gabriel was in here.
That's what the evidence will show, and I want you to think about that.
Just that.
Gabriel's last vision was that man over there standing over Gabriel, beating him to death.
At the end of this trial, I'm going to ask you, to find him guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt of first-degree murder.
And I will ask you to find him guilty of intentionally murdering Gabriel, by torturing him to death.
Thank you.
- [children.]
Daddy! - Hi! Hi, guys.
- How you doing good? - Good.
[woman giggles.]
What about salad? Do you eat salad? I think Mommy made meatballs.
- [boy.]
I know.
- Ooh, that looks good, huh? [Hatami's voice.]
I think my, um, path to the DA's office is different than most.
When I was younger I had a tough few years.
When I was in high school, I got in trouble a few times.
There was a lot of issues, I was dealing with.
I can never, like, compare anything that happened to me to any of my cases, including Gabriel.
But at least a little bit of what I've been through, I could have some, um understanding.
My dad and my brother Pete and I, um yeah, I had a kind of a complicated childhood situation, so My dad had really bad anger problems, and, um, he would get really mad.
He was abusive at times.
I remember numerous times picking me up by my hair, throwing me against the wall.
But I was most scared of his yelling.
Um, just the sound of his yelling, I'd start crying.
But, God, I loved him.
You know, it's kind of hard to explain, uh My parents had a really bad divorce.
My mom and my dad would get into a lot of arguments.
We had some visitation with my dad on the weekends.
I remember one visitation, we didn't want to leave.
My mom and my dad got into a big fight, and I remember the police came.
And a week later there was a court hearing.
God, I remember, my dad saying, you know, "Stand up and tell the judge, you know, what you want where you wanna go.
" And, um the courtroom, it was so big.
[voice breaking.]
And I was so small.
And so I just couldn't say anything.
The judge kept asking me, you know, where I want to go, who did I want to stay with, but Yeah, I couldn't say anything, I was so scared.
People say, you know, "Why didn't Gabriel run away?" They don't get it.
At that age you you can't do anything.
When I am conveying to the jury about, you know, how a child is being abused and how they feel, yeah, I mean, a lot of it comes from inside of me.
And part of me is what happened to me as a child.
Uh, and I still remember it, and I still know how it feels.
My dad is denying that he abused both me and my brother.
He basically says that, uh, it didn't happen.
As a child, I think if you get abused, a lot of it is, you feel um, bullied, and you feel, like, belittled and small, and everybody's so big, and you're just so small.
And you want somebody to fight for you.
And that feeling of being so powerless, um Yeah, I wanna get up there and fight for them.
Fight for the kids who couldn't fight for themselves.
We will not tell you, nor will we call any witness, who will tell you, that is Isauro Aguirre did not commit these heinous acts.
Yet, while the evidence will show, that Isauro and his girlfriend, Gabriel's mother, Pearl Fernandez, committed unspeakable acts, of abuse against Gabriel, over time, and that together, on the night of May 22nd, 2013, they beat Gabriel so severely, that he never recovered, when Isauro exploded into a rage of anger.
The evidence will also show, that despite the horrific abuse.
Isauro never intended for Gabriel to die.
[no audible speech.]
Intent has to be proven, for the degree of crime to be established.
We felt this was murder by torture, which people don't realize, it's kind of rare to get a conviction that someone was tortured to death.
You use the physical evidence, you use the scientific evidence, you use statements that the defendant has said at the scene, you use the statements he said during the time he was committing these atrocious acts.
[Hatami's voice.]
First-degree murder is intentional, it requires premeditation.
We are asking the jury to convict Isauro Aguirre on a first-degree murder charge.
I do believe the defense, in this case, is asking for second-degree murder.
Second-degree murder doesn't require premeditation.
It doesn't require intent.
So their theory is this was a case of just sudden rage, where Aguirre just snapped and then all of a sudden, he did what he did and killed Gabriel.
[reporters clamoring.]
So there was a point during the trial, where they play the 911 call and what defense was setting up was that, because Isauro was performing CPR, that he didn't have the intent for him to die.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, they're about to play, uh, several, uh audios for you.
You'll get corresponding transcripts.
And right now, where are you? You're kneeling next to him? - [Isauro.]
Yes, ma'am.
- [woman.]
We're gonna do compressions, OK? I want you to just give him 30 compressions on his chest, with your hands.
Have you seen that done, you know how to do it? You're trained? - OK.
- [Isauro.]
You hear the directions from the operator, but it's really unclear, though, whether or not he tried to perform CPR.
Can you tell the court and jury whether or not you were able to see any blood on the defendant's body? Uh, not that I remember.
Did you see any blood on the defendant's face? Not that I remember.
- [Yang.]
Mouth? - No.
- [Yang.]
Side of his cheeks? - No.
So no blood whatsoever? Not that I recall.
Seeing Gabriel's condition, the fact there was actually no blood on his face, It's highly unlikely that he gave him CPR.
You hear him on the 911 call, it's just not consistent with somebody actually giving somebody CPR.
Turn him on his side right now, and let any liquids that are in his mouth come out.
Do you see any vomit or anything in his mouth right now? [Isauro.]
OK, so he's not choking on anything? [Isauro.]
Pearl and Isauro contrived this story that Gabriel and his older brother Ezequiel were running around a coffee table.
Somehow, Gabriel had fallen while they were playing.
My other son called me called me and my wife, and he said he's unconscious.
So I took him to the shower and put water.
And then, I took him out and he did not respond.
Part of knowing how to do CPR is that you don't stop until the paramedics showed up, and Sean Fox said he walked in there and he wasn't giving him CPR.
The man, uh, he was on the telephone with 911? [Fox.]
I don't know if he was on the phone or not.
- [Sklar.]
You don't recall? - [Fox.]
Um the male, um, was giving CPR to the boy, when you first walked into the house? No.
Not that I can recall.
And then all the blood's, you know, washed off of you? How did that happen? Why was there blood down the sink? There was blood in the drain in the sink.
How'd that get down there, unless you guys were trying to wash it off of yourself? If they cared so much about Gabriel, why didn't they get in that ambulance? [siren wailing.]
The deputies explained when you have a situation like this, where the emotions are really high, they try to isolate the two parties, that are at the most high-level energy and aggressive.
So, they interviewed Pearl and Isauro separately.
So defense was trying to say, "Why didn't you let them go with their dying son in the ambulance?" So are are you suggesting to us that, um, while you were questioning, um, Mr.
Aguirre that night, and when the ambulance left to take Gabriel to the hospital that if Mr.
Aguirre had said to you, you know, "I wanna go, um down to the hospital, either drive or ride in the ambulance, I'll talk to you later about this," that would have been OK with you? Yeah, he was free to leave.
And, so that would have been perfectly fine with you, at that point, if Mr.
Aguirre just said, "We'll talk about this later.
" - He was free to leave at that time.
- [John.]
Was there anything preventing that male and that female from getting into that ambulance when Gabriel was taken to the hospital? No.
In your 21 years of experience, have you seen parents of children who are injured get in that ambulance and go to the hospital? I've seen them fight their way into the ambulance.
I think it was important to kind of portray that to the jury, um, so they understood that they never, they never cared about Gabriel.
They went in saying, "He did this.
" So Isauro Aguirre's defense was that, at that moment, he was in a blind rage.
So your frustration level, dude, is way up here.
That's where mine would be.
On a scale of one to ten, where would you say your frustration anger level is at? - [Isauro.]
- [Uribe chuckles.]
At 20.
The very specific moment in question, you know, where Isauro Aguirre says that he was in a blind rage, was Pearl saying that Gabriel asked her, "Why do you let him treat you like that?" Something to the effect that questioned Isauro Aguirre's commitment to Pearl Fernandez.
And Isauro Aguirre confronted Gabriel.
Gabriel said, "I didn't say that.
" And then he proceeded to beat him to death.
He told Detectives Uribe and Long, he became so out of control, with anger and rage, that he saw red.
A decision to kill made rashly, impulsively, or without careful consideration, is not premeditated.
The problem with that theory is the eight months of torture.
You have a 32-year-old man, who's not a child, right? Not a teenager.
Fully-developed, 32.
He can take any avenue he wants, right, for eight months? You make choices, and he chose, for eight months, to do this, and never to change.
So the prosecution needs to show that there is intent, and that is shown through a series of events over time.
- Doctor.
- [man.]
Uh, Doctor, can you tell the jury what some of your findings were, as it pertains to Gabriel's ribs? The most important finding concerning the ribs was that, "There are multiple, bilateral rib fractures," In other words, fractures on both sides of the chest, right and left, of variable ages, of different ages.
And can you explain for the jury why, in particular, that rib fractures are painful? Well, a couple minutes ago, I talked about the periosteum.
This is the covering of soft tissue around the bone.
That's where all the nerve endings are.
The bone itself doesn't hurt, but the periosteum carries the nerve endings.
And so when you have a fracture, and the bone moves, you get irritation of the periosteum where all the nerves nerve endings and nerves live.
That's why rib fractures hurt a great deal, because there's irritation of that periosteum and the nerves.
And does breathing irritate the nerves? Again, with motion, either direct pressure or breathing, any motion of the rib that moves if there's a fracture that moves the rib fragments, irritates the periosteum and hurts.
Practically, every minute of Gabriel's time with the defendant, after he suffered a broken bone, each day that he was living with them was painful.
Each time he breathed, each time he took his, uh his breath, was painful.
Uh, People, you may call your next witness.
Pleasure, thank you.
People would like to call Dr.
James Ribe.
All right.
Ribe is a deputy coroner with Los Angeles County Coroner's Office.
He was the doctor who conducted the autopsy on Gabriel.
Can you tell the jury, uh, how long the autopsy took? It took two days.
And is this is this normal that it takes two days for an autopsy? No.
And I asked him why, and he said to document all the injuries that he found.
Was there something about Gabriel's thymus gland? How long and what is the thymus gland? Thymus gland is a gland in the throat, upper chest area of children, and young people.
It's located right up here, right where my tie is, inside the rib cage in the front, and in a child eight years old, that's quite a large, plump, white, soft gland that weighs 35 to 50 grams, sometimes even a hundred grams.
In Gabriel's case, the thymus gland was barely even there.
It was extremely shriveled and thin, and weighed only ten grams.
And what does that tell you, Dr.
Ribe? [Ribe.]
It's called stress atrophy and that means he's been under severe emotional and physiological stress for a long period of time, meaning months.
This was not a one-time deal that led to Gabriel's death.
This was a systematic, progression of torture.
Ribe, did you examine Gabriel's head for injuries? Yes.
He had a subdural hematoma, which is bleeding inside the head, caused by blunt force trauma.
Uh, this is a wood club.
Those red stickers are pointing to red-brown stains, that I had visualized on the wood bat or club, and it tested positive for blood.
The DNA profile from the wooden club was a single-source profile that matched the profile of Gabriel Fernandez.
This is the black bat that I analyzed in the laboratory.
The blue arrows in this case are pointing to red-brown stains that I had visualized on the bat.
They tested positive for blood.
And did you do a conducted comparison of each of the weapons profiled to a known sample? [Shew.]
Yes, I did.
Take the first one, the black bat.
Did it come back to a match to a known sample? Yes, it did.
Who did it match? Uh, this the DNA profile from the samples on this DNA table matched the profile from Gabriel Fernandez.
Could all of those injuries been caused by falling off a bike? [Ribe.]
Were all the injuries that you found, would they be attributed to accidental, uh, events? No.
Gabriel's death was caused by sequelae of blunt force trauma and child neglect.
What is the what does "sequelae" mean? Consequences.
And what is the basis for that opinion, Dr.
Ribe? That is that I saw Gabriel had suffered these injuries over a period of weeks or months, and he had not received any medical treatment for them.
Were you able to determine the manner of death? - [Ribe.]
- [Yang.]
And what is your opinion? The manner of Gabriel's death was homicidal.
The argument would be, "What'd you expect?" What do you expect, you br you put a child in this condition over this period of time, the only expectation that you can have is that this child would die.
And that's exactly what happened.
Did you examine Gabriel's stomach? - [Ribe.]
- And can you tell the jury what, if anything, that you found? Hard, gritty material that I described as looking like sand.
It felt like sand when I picked it up.
After I had examined, visually and with stereo microscope, I noticed that they were gray-colored particles, in the stomach contents.
This shows some of the gray particulate material, that I have removed from the stomach contents.
I did, uh, a couple of different two different types of instrumental tests, on both the gray particles from the stomach contents, and also the exemplar cat litter material.
So they were similar? [Stephan.]
Yes, I could not tell them apart.
The defendant's callousness had no limits.
Not only, weren't they feeding Gabriel food They fed him cat litter.
He had, uh, no fat stores and no food inside of him at all, with the exception of cat litter.
And then the cubby, they kept him in that cupboard almost every night and sometimes even during the day.
Putting the handcuffs over his ankles, putting those socks in his mouth, and putting that bandana over his face.
The evidence will show the defendant intentionally murdered and tortured Gabriel.
And he did it because he didn't like him.
There is evil in this room right now.
And it's right over there.
[bird cawing.]
This was Michael's album.
Gabriel was a very playful, lovable baby.
Big ol' head.
He had a big head, very hard head.
Yeah, he was a very good kid, very playful and loving.
Always smiling, always trying to help.
Making sure everybody was OK, then, like, if anybody was crying or hurting or He wanted everybody to be OK, you know? Even Pearl.
He always worried about her and asked about her, and he would still call her mom.
But I don't know why she couldn't see his love for her.
It's heartbreaking.
To see To see a kid with such a good spirit, so happy, so loving and we'll never see him again.
The DCFS workers, sheriffs, as many times as they were out and they were called, they ignored him.
I believe it was three times that we called, um, the social workers, and twice that we spoke with sheriffs.
Later, when I heard that sheriffs had went out and threatened Gabriel, as if he keeps lying about things, that made me very angry.
- [man.]
The sheriff's threatened Gabriel? - I guess Pearl had told the sheriffs that some bigger kids had beat him up.
And that's why he had marks on him.
And that wasn't true.
And so the sheriffs [Elizabeth.]
They put him in back of the car and told him, that if he kept lying about things, that he would be the one to go to jail.
All those workers that came in, and therapists, why did they all believe her over the kid with the marks? I didn't I didn't get why they didn't never see that he was so terrified to talk.
The fact that they did nothing, they stood by, I regret now not coming and taking him.
[voices chattering.]
I don't see how a mother can do something or allow something to happen like that.
I will never understand it.
Tore the family apart in so many ways.
All right, let me call the matter of People vs.
Pearl Fernandez.
Miss Fernandez, do you agree that I can continue your matter to the date of January 31st and for now, your procedure trial within 45 days of that date? - Yes.
- [Judge.]
Both counsels join, please.
- Yes, sir.
- [Judge.]
All right, anything further? - [Hatami.]
No, Your Honor.
Thank you.
- [Judge.]
All right, we'll stand in recess.
It was shocking, knowing it's something in your family, but it didn't completely surprised me Pearl did something horrific like this.
Did I think she would ever kill one of her children? No.
But I thought, like, at some point in her life, she would hurt somebody bad and she'd wind up in prison.
Like, what? Why is that fucking videotape me [Elizabeth.]
Those are demons that she'll always fight in her head.

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