A judge is expected to throw out the case against four social workers who were charged in connection to the death of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez in 2013, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday.
The Palmdale boy died from months of abuse meted out by his mother and her boyfriend because they believed he was gay, prosecutors said.
In 2018, Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced the boy’s mother, Pearl Sinthia, to life in prison without possibility of parole and issued a death sentence to Isauro Aguirre, calling the abuse “horrendous, inhumane and nothing short of evil.”
Gabriel was repeatedly beaten, starved, tied up, locked in a cabinet, shot with a BB gun and once had his teeth knocked out with a bat, the judge said. The boy also had a fractured skull, broken ribs and burns across his body.
In an unusual move, in 2016 Los Angeles County prosecutors filed criminal charges against four former employees of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, accusing them of being criminally negligent. Prosecutors contended that Kevin Bom, Stefanie Rodriguez, Gregory Merritt and Patricia Clement downplayed and concealed the abuse.
In January this year, a California appeals court threw out criminal charges against the four former social workers.
With files from the Associated Press
Laurie L. Levenson, professor of criminal law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and former federal prosecutor