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In 2018, Gabriel Fernandez’s mother Pearl Fernandez and her partner Isauro Aguirre were sentenced for their role in the death of eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. Express.co.uk has everything you need to know about their whereabouts today.
Did Gabriel Fernandez’s parents die? Where are they now?
Originally, Fernandez and Aguirre were supposed to be tried together, but they were tried separately instead.
Aguirre’s trial took place in November 2017, where he was found guilty of first-degree murder with the additional special circumstance of murder by torture.
In February 2018, Fernandez entered a plea deal, meaning she did not have to stand trial.
She pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with the special circumstance of murder by torture.
Fernandez and Aguirre both received different sentences for their crimes.
Aguirre received the death penalty. He is still alive, and currently on death row at the infamous San Quentin prison, alongside prisoners Richard Delmer Boyer, Luis Bracamontes and Vincent Brothers.
Since 1976, only 13 executions have been carried out at San Quentin, with the last taking place in 2006. Aguirre is one of the 737 inmates on death row at the prison and it is likely he will die on death row and will not be executed.
The last execution was in 2006 of murderer Ray Clarence Allen and since March 2019 executions in the state have been postponed.
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- Gabriel Fernandez: Gabriel Fernandez’s parents sentencing explained
Fernandez’s plea deal meant she would be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
She is alive and serving her life sentence as Chowchilla State Women’s prison in California.
Chowchilla is the largest female correctional facility in the United States and houses the only State of California death row for women. However, unlike Aguirre, Fernandez is not on death row.
Pearl’s defence attorney had argued due to her low IQ, the death penalty would be “inappropriate.”
Deborah S Miora, a clinical and forensic neuro-psychologist who evaluated Fernandez for the defence, concluded she had an intellectual disability which makes her “virtually unable to use thought to guide her behaviour and temper her emotional reactions”.
Miora’s report also drew upon Pearl’s troubled childhood and her experience of abuse and neglect from a young age.
In the Netflix documentary, Wendy Smith of the University of Southern California’s school of social work shared with producers Pearl suffered from a depressive disorder, developmental disability, possible personality disorder and possible PTSD.
At the sentencing hearing, Fernandez told the court: “I want to say I’m sorry to my family for what I did…. 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.”
Sentencing the Aguirre and Fernandez, Superior Court Judge George G Lomeli at their sentencing hearing in 2018 said:“[Your] conduct was horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.
“You want to say that the conduct was animalistic, but that would be wrong because even animals know how to take care of their young, some to the extent that they would sacrifice their own lives in caring for their young.
“I can only wish that in the middle of the night you wake up, and you think of the injuries that you subjected on this poor young man, this poor seven-year-old, and that it tortures you.”
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Gabriel Fernandez: What happened to Gabriel Fernandez’s parents?
Gabriel’s biological father, Arnold Contreras, who had no involvement or association with Gabriel Fernandez’s case, is still alive.
When Gabriel was living with his mother and her partner in the eight months before his death, Contreras was behind bars for robbery and possession.
Contreras learnt from the prison chaplain that his son had been taken off life support on May 24, 2013.
As seen in the documentary, Contreras told the court he had always been against the idea of his son moving in with Fernandez and Aguirre, claiming his mother never showed any love and affection towards him.
He described Gabriel as a “loving” and “always smiling” little boy, adding he was a “normal kid.”
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When asked by prosecutor Jon Hatami, what he would say to his son if he the opportunity, Contreras said: “I’m sorry. Sorry for not being there.”
Contreras is still alive but returned to prison after being convicted on two separate charges in 2018 and 2019.
Oxygen.com reported Contreras was convicted in May 2018 on a first charge of acquiring and retaining personal identification information. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
In January 2019, he was convicted on a second charge and given a one-year and four-month sentence.
He was eligible for parole in June 2019 and it is currently unknown if he has been released.
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez is streaming on Netflix now
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