Warning: Distressing

A jury has this weekend recommended that a man be sentenced to death in the US for the torture and murder of an 8-year-old boy.

Isauro Aguirre, 37, from Los Angeles, has been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend's son, little Gabriel Fernandez.

The 8-year-old boy was repeatedly shot with a BB gun, beaten and forced to sleep in a small cabinet with his hands and feet bound and his mouth gagged.


A seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for about seven hours over three days and on Wednesday recommended the death penalty for the man, as opposed to life in prison.

The boy's mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, is still awaiting trial, also facing a potential death sentence.

The jury last month found the man guilty of first-degree murder for the May 2013 killing of Gabriel Fernandez.

The special circumstance of torture means the man is eligible for capital punishment.

During the trial, doctors, nurses, social workers and a sheriff's deputy all testified that Gabriel's injuries were the worst they'd ever seen.

In his closing argument on Monday, Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami asked the jury to think of how helpless and hopeless little Gabriel must have felt.

"Stuffed in that box ... cold, afraid, lonely, hungry, probably hard to breathe," the prosecutor said. The boy "defecated and urinated in that box" and "even was force-fed his own vomit. The defendant broke Gabriel's spirit."

"[He] beat Gabriel to death with his fists and his hands ... in front of Gabriel's own brother and sister. What type of man would do that?" Hatami asked. "Not a man with any goodness in him."