LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Heart-breaking testimony was given in a downtown courtroom Wednesday by the older brother who says he witnessed the killing of his younger sibling.

Gabriel Fernandez’s 16-year-old brother  recounted a harrowing tale of abuse from his mother and her boyfriend who are on trial, suspected of killing the Palmdale boy.

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The older brother who was identified in court only as Ezequiel C., told jurors that he recalled his little brother being hit by his mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, and  frequently being kept in a “box” in the couple’s bedroom. He added that his sibling was forced to eat cat litter and cat feces and was repeatedly beaten in the months leading up to his death in May 2013 in Palmdale.

“I noticed two beds in your room, but Gabriel still stayed in that box most of the time?” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami asked the teenager
in reference to photos showing the bedroom the brothers shared. “Yes,” he responded.

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His testimony came on the third day of trial for Aguirre, a 37-year-old former security guard who is charged with murder in Gabriel’s May 22, 2013, fatal beating, and also faces a special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Aguirre and Fernandez, 34, who will be tried separately.

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(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)