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Man pleads guilty in young boy's beating death

Updated: 07/22/2014 9:37 AM | Created: 07/22/2014 9:32 AM
By: The Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A 24-year-old northern New Mexico man faces 21 years in prison when he is sentenced in the 2011 beating death of the 3-year-old son of the man's girlfriend at the time.

Steven Gallegos of Pojoaque pleaded guilty Monday under a plea agreement that averts a trial for him in the killing of Leland Valdez.

Gallegos pleaded guilty in a Santa Fe courtroom to child abuse resulting in death and child abuse not resulting in death.

The boy's mother, Tabetha Van Holtz, previously pleaded guilty to child abuse and abandonment resulting in great bodily harm in her son's death.

The boy's father said he reported alleged abuse to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department months before his son died. The current sheriff has said more should have done.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Leland Valdez, 3, was beaten to death in 2011.
Steven Gallegos pleaded guilty to the child abuse resulting in death.
Tabetha Van Holtz, mother of Leland Valdez, previously pleaded guilty to child abuse and abandonment resulting in great bodily harm in her son's death.

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