The fatal beating Gabriel Fernandez took on May 22, 2013, in a Palmdale apartment is just part of what could be described as a living nightmare for the little boy, that according to grand jury transcripts which led to murder charges against his mother, Pearl Fernandez and her boyfriend Isauro Aguirre.
Gabriel's older brother, Ezequiel, says on a daily basis Gabriel was gagged with a sock and bandana and stuffed into a small cabinet locked from the outside with handcuffs.
He says that is where Gabriel would sleep despite two beds in their room and when the boy went to the bathroom inside the box he was forced to clean it up.
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If Ezequiel helped:
"I got hit."
"By my mom," he testified.
The story of Gabriel Fernandez's torture and killing shed light on how child abuse cases are handled in Los Angeles County. It has led to changes across several county departments, the creation of a new office to monitor these cases, and charges of murder against his alleged killers. His death led to rallies and a Facebook page in his honor.
Testimony details beatings with bats, a club which knocked out Gabriel's teeth, BB gun and pepper spray shot in Gabriel's face, and whippings with the metal part of a belt at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend over eight months.
Pearl took custody of Gabriel, who has been living with his maternal grandparents.
Of the three children in the house, only Gabriel received this type of abuse, according to the testimony.
"We had cats and we had a litter box and whenever he would get punished, my mom would tell him to go eat poop," the testimony read.
Making his gums bleed, the brother adds he saw the boyfriend, who worked as a security guard, grab Gabriel in a chokehold and knock him into a wall, feet off the ground.
"He would gasp for air," the brother testified.
The last beating began when Gabriel did not want to pick up his toys and Pearl and Tony, as they called the boyfriend, allegedly began punching and kicking Gabriel, even while the boy lay on the floor unconscious.
"It just went quiet, and my mom came out like scared and told me to, to make up a story because she was going to call paramedics, and she told me to say that me and Gabriel were playing in her room and he hit his head on the cabinet, that it hit the cabinet," the brother said according to testimony.
NBC4 requested a comment from public defenders for both defendants, but did not receive a response.