A MAN has been accused of torturing his girlfriend's eight-year-old son to death because he thought he was gay.
The 37-year-old is also accused of beating the boy with a bat and shooting him with a BB gun along with Gabriel's mum Pearl Fernandez in Los Angeles.
His defence lawyer John Allan said his client had admitted murder but denies torturing the schoolboy, according to LA broadcaster KTLA5.
Little Gabriel was tortured by Aguirre and Fernandez, 34, over the course of eight months in 2013, prosecutors say.
Aguirre also allegedly forced the boy to dress up in girls' clothes before going to school and didn't like him because he thought he was gay.
The youngster was also made to sleep tied up in a small cabinet with a sock shoved in his mouth and a bandana over his face.
An autopsy found cat litter and animal hair in the boy's stomach and a shrunk thymus gland "from being starved".
Gabriel was just 4ft 1 ins and weighed just four stone, while hulking 6ft 2 ins security guard Aguirre tips the scales at 19 stone.
Texts were also shown to the jury on Monday which the prosecution claimed show Aguirre and Fernandez had conspired to torture and murder Gabriel and then cover it up.
The couple had called 911, but the court was told they didn't do it "to help Gabriel".
Prosecutor Jon Hatami said: "They called 911 to cover up what they did."
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.
But Mr Allan said Aguirre "never intended for Gabriel to die" when he allegedly "punched him and he kept punching him" on May 22, 2013.
Aguirre told investigators that he hit the boy ten times in the head, 20 times in the body and "admitted that he lost count".
Fernandez will be tried separately, while four social workers are also being prosecuted because of his death.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.