A man accused of conspiring with his girlfriend to savagely torture and murder her 8-year-old son wanted the boy dead because he thought he was gay, a prosecutor has said.
Jon Hatami, a prosecutor for Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said during opening statements on Monday that 32-year-old Isauro Aguirre, of Palmdale, dousedthe boy in pepper spray, forced him to eat his own faeces and vomit, put cigarettes out on his skin, beat him with a bat and shot him with a BB gun alongside the boy's mother Pearl Fernandez.
But Aguirre's defence attorney said that although his client admits murder, he denies the torture, according to KTLA5.
John Allan said Aguirre was having trouble with a stressful and chaotic situation, adding: "He is guilty of murder, but the special circumstance alleged, that he intended kill Gabriel with the infliction of torture, is not true.
"Despite the horrific abuse, Isauro never intended for Gabriel to die."
Fernandez, 34, and Isauro Aguirre, now 37, continuously tortured Gabriel over eight months in 2013, according to prosecutors.
Hatami said the boy's mother and Aguirreeventually called 911, but not "to help Gabriel".
"They called 911 to cover up what they did."
Hatami also said Aguirre forced his girlfriend's son to dress up in girls' clothes before going to school, and stressed that he did not like Gabriel because he believed he was gay.
"The evidence will show that the defendant is nothing more than a bully."
Aguirre, who is 1.8m, was 122kg at the time of Gabriel's death, the MailOnline reported.
The boy - at 1.25m - weighed just 26kg.
Texts were also shown to the jury on Monday that Hatami claimed show Aguirre and Fernandez had conspired to torture and murder Gabriel and then cover it up.
James Cermak, a paramedic for LA County Fire Department, said there was an "unbelievable" amount of damage to the boy's body when it was found at the couple's apartment in Palmdale.
Fernandez will be tried separately.
Four social workers are also being prosecuted because of his death.