Man Accused of Beating Two Children to Death With Baseball Bat Found Incompetent

The man charged in the 2008 beating death of two Phoenix boys was found incompetent to stand trial today and will be sent to a mental health facility

Joe Sauceda Gallegos, 38, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder after he allegedly beat two young boys to death with a baseball bat a few days before Christmas in 2008.

The boys, 7-year-old Jesse Ramirez and 10-year-old Edwin Pellecier, were cousins. Their bodies were found in a playground near 91st Avenue and Broadway Road on December 23, 2008.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville found that Gallegos didn't understand the charges against him and would be unable to assist in his own defense. Rather than face murder charges, Gallegos will be sent Desert Vista Behavioral Health Center for an in-patient evaluation.

This won't be Gallegos' first trip to the loony bin. According to records dug up by the Arizona Republic, there was a petition for a court-ordered mental evaluation that was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court in July 2008.

Gallegos, those records show, was released about a month later.

Just because Gallegos was found incompetent to stand trial now, doesn't mean he can't be  re-charged in the future.

Should Gallegos find his marbles and get released from the mental health facility, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office would be notified and has the authority to re-arrest and re-charge him with the same crimes.

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James King
Contact: James King