Man Who Beat Kids to Death With a Baseball Bat in 2008 Is Actually Going to Prison Now

Joe Sauceda Gallegos, who beat two young Phoenix boys to death with a baseball bat a few days before Christmas in 2008, is finally going to prison.

Gallegos was found incompetent to stand trial in 2010, and was sent to a mental health facility.

After some meds and time in the nuthouse, Gallegos was seen as competent -- at least competent enough to change his plea on the murder charges to guilty today.

The boys -- 7-year-old Jesse Ramirez and his cousin, 10-year-old Edwin Pellecier -- were found unconscious at a playground near 91st Avenue and Broadway Road on December 23, 2008.

They were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital not long after that.

Luckily, someone who lived near the park had a surveillance camera on the front of their home.

The footage showed the boys walking past around 1 p.m., and an overweight weirdo with a baseball bat at about 1:01 p.m.

The homeowner actually thought he recognized Gallegos on the tape, as they were neighbors.

Gallegos denied knowing anything about the attack on the boys, but an outstanding warrant brought him in anyway.

Gallegos had bleach on his hands and blood stains on his shoes, and after a search warrant was served at his house, police found blood-stained clothing, blood in the bathroom, an open bottle of bleach, and the baseball bat.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville found in August 2010 that Gallegos didn't understand the charges against him, and shipped him off to the Desert Vista Behavioral Health Center for an in-patient evaluation.

That was his second court-ordered stay at the funny farm, since he landed there for about a month two years prior.

As soon as Gallegos was cleared to be released for his most recent visit, on March 7, he was rearrested and recharged with the boys' murders.

Gallegos pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder today, and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Gallegos "will not be eligible for commutation or early release under any conditions."

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley