UPDATE: Man accused of beating boys will face death penalty

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Not guilty plea from suspect
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UPDATE: Feb. 19

PHOENIX -- County Attorney Andrew Thomas announced that his office intends to seek the death penalty if Joe Sauceda Gallegos is convicted as charged.

UPDATE: Jan. 7

PHOENIX -- The Valley man accused of beating two young boys to death appeared in court Wednesday.

He entered a not guilty plea on all charges in the arraignment.

Joe Sauceda Gallegos is accused of attacking Jess Ramirez, 7, and Edwin Pellecier, 10, on a playground two days before Christmas.

The boys, who were cousins, both died in the hospital after Christmas.

Gallegos has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse.

He remians in jail on $1 million bond. The next court date is February 18.

UPDATE: JAN. 2: Beaten boys to be laid to rest Saturday

PHOENIX -- Two young cousins who were beaten to death at a playground last week will be laid to rest Saturday.

Family members will hold funerals for Jesse Ramirez, 7, and Edwin Pellecier, 10, in Tucson Saturday.

Police said the boys -- cousins -- were beaten with an aluminum baseball bat in a Tolleson park on Dec. 23. They died the day after Christmas.

An obituary notice for the boys said, "In life, the cousins were always together, and indeath, they will continue to be together."

Joe Gallegos has been charged with beating and killing the young cousins.

Police said they found a bat and blood-stained clothing in Gallegos' home.

UPDATE DEC. 30: Suspect charged in bat-beating deaths of 2 boys

PHOENIX -- The man accused in the brutal beating deaths of two boys at a park has been formally charged.

Joe Gallegos now faces two counts of first-degree murder. He has also been charged with child abuse and dangerous crimes against children.

The boys' school is preparing to deal with grieving classmates. Counselors will be on campus to help.

Gallegos remains in jail on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty.

UPDATE:

PHOENIX - Both of the children brutally attacked in a west Phoenix park have died.

Seven-year-old Jesse Ramirez died shortly before 9 a.m. on Friday. His 10-year-old cousin Edwin Pellecier died a few hours later from his injuries as well.

The boys were beaten on Tuesday by a stranger wielding a baseball bat.

The suspect, Joe Gallegos, was originally charged with two counts of child abuse.

In light of the boys deaths, detectives have added a first-degree murder charge and a second count of first-degree murder to those Gallegos already faces.

The boys' mothers set up separate bank accounts at Bank of America. You can make a contribution at any bank branch under the boys' names: Edwin Pellecier and Jesse Ramirez.

ORIGINAL REPORT:

PHOENIX - 3TV is learning more about the man accused of beating two young boys with a baseball bat.

The suspect in this case is 36-year-old Joe Gallegos. Gallegos made his initial appearance in court on Wednesday afternoon. He is charged with two counts of child abuse. The two children he allegedly attacked remain in critical condition.They have been identified as 10-year-old Edwin Pellecier and his 7-year-old cousin Jesse Ramirez.

Court paperwork reveals some disturbing details about this suspect. According to police, when they showed up to question Gallegos at his home they smelled a strong odor of chlorine similar to bleach on his hands. Police also say they noticed dried stains that appeared to be blood on his shoes.

The suspect's uncle told officers that he believed Gallegos had been diagnosed as a Schizophrenic.

Earlier on Wednesday family members talked to 3TV reporter Javier Soto at the scene telling him that Gallegos had recently been released from a psychiatric facility.

3TV has also done a background check and found, at least in Maricopa County, only a couple of traffic violations. 3TV has also learned that he had an outstanding warrant on an assault charge.

Gallegos has two children of his own, ages seven and ten, the same ages as the two victims in this case. His children currently live in Colorado with their mother.