ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Prosecutors say they now have evidence the stepfather of Omaree Varela actually participated in the 9-year-old’s death. Omaree is the Albuquerque boy allegedly kicked to death by his mother. Now her husband Stephen Casaus is facing new charges.
Court papers reveal that new evidence recently found during discovery and pre-trial interviews conducted in may implicate Casaus in the actual beating. He was previously charged for knowing about the abuse, but failing to protect the boy.
Casaus was back in court Friday to be arraigned on that new child abuse charge. He plead not guilty.
“We reviewed the indictment with my client and he is aware of the charges against him and penalty. He waives formal reading and enters plea of not guilty'” said Casaus’ attorney, Cindy Leos.
Causaus was there the night of December 27th when the boy’s mother Synthia Varela-Casaus admits to kicking Omaree to death. She too is facing a charge of child abuse resulting in death and according to the new indictment Casaus participated saying, “intentionally placed the child in a situation that endangered his life or health” through physical abuse or striking the child.”
The indictment does not say specifically what he did. Casaus remains jailed on a $100,000 cash or surety bond.
As for Omaree’s mother, Synthia Varela-casaus, her case is currently on hold as further evaluations are done to determine if she’s competent to stand trial.
The state has filed a motion to join the case against both parents together.