Man pleads guilty in 3-year-old’s death


ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A man accused in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son took a plea deal Monday.

Steven Gallegos pleaded guilty to three counts of child abuse including child abuse resulting in death.

In 2011, Gallegos and Tabetha Van Hotlz claimed her son Leland Valdez fell off a chair. An autopsy found he had been beaten to death.

Leland’s father Andrew said he reported evidence of old injuries to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department five months before his son died. The sheriff later admitted that mistakes were made.

The father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department.

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