| Crime |

Suspect in Baseball-Bat Killing of Two Boys Found Incompetent to Stand Trial; New Hearing May Take Months

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The man accused of a random, fatal baseball-bat attack on two little boys playing in a park in December has been found incompetent to stand trial -- for now.

Joe Sauceda Gallegos, 39, a reported schizophrenic with a history of mental problems, became the only suspect after the mangled, bloody bodies of the boys -- aged 7 and 10 -- were found by neighbors in a southwest Phoenix park. He's been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and child abuse.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas is seeking the death penalty, but mental-health evaluations could possibly derail that plan. It looks like this case is headed to a conclusion similar to that of lunatic Ed Liu, who was placed in a psychiatric institute earlier this year following the 2005 slaying of two Peoria Walmart workers.

Judge Warren Granville of the Maricopa County Superior Court made the latest ruling on Gallegos last week after reviewing two mental-health reports on the murder suspect. Granville ordered the Maricopa County Correctional Health Services department to work up a "restoration regimen" for Gallegos that could last up to 15 months, reports the West Valley View.

If county shrinks can't straighten out Gallegos' head, he may be handed a get-out-of-jail-free card. Being imcarcerated in a mental institution is probably no fun at all, but it's a darned sight better than getting locked up on death row with the execution clock running.

Assuming Gallegos is certifiably, hopelessly insane, though, maybe a lifetime of state care is appropriate. That is, maybe the crime wasn't of evil intent.

Best to think of Gallegos as a tornado, flood, or some other natural event humans have no control over.


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