Undocumented immigrant indicted on 11 counts of capital murder and abuse of corpse

Jose Paulino Pascual Reyes is accused of beating a woman and her young son to death in Tallapoosa County
State prosecutors have announced Jose Paulino Pascual Reyes has now been charged and indicted on 11 counts of capital murder
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:17 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2023 at 4:43 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A man who was illegally in the United States has been indicted on nearly a dozen charges after allegedly killing a woman and her child, then dismembering and mutilating their bodies.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the 11-count indictment Tuesday against Jose Paulino Pascual Reyes, 37. He is accused of killing his live-in girlfriend, Sandra Vazquez Ceja, and her juvenile son, Omar Gallegos Vazquez, according to the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office.

Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said Ceja and her two children moved in with Reyes in February 2022 and that it was his belief that the victims were killed on or around July 24.

Reyes faces nine counts of capital murder and two counts of abuse of a corpse. He was served with the indictment Monday at the Russell County Jail, where he’s being held without bond. According to Abbett, Reyes had previously been deported from the U.S. for illegal entry from Mexico but later returned. It’s unclear when he was deported or when he returned.

The AG’s office presented evidence to a Tallapoosa County grand jury on Jan. 31, which led to the indictments. Specifically, the indictment charges that Reyes intentionally caused both victims’ deaths during the abduction and sexual assault of a minor. He’s then accused of dismembering and/or mutilating the corpses.

Extremely graphic court documents revealed gruesome details of what investigators say happened to the victims, noting that one of the victims was smothered while the other was beaten to death.

The case was opened after a 12-year-old girl was found walking alone on the night of Aug. 1. She led investigators to the horrific discovery on County Road 34, just south of Dadeville.

Court filings indicate the child had been tied to bed posts for nearly a week, during which time she was assaulted and kept in a drugged state through the use of alcohol. The child later managed to escape, the documents revealed, only after chewing through her restraints.

If convicted, Reyes faces the death penalty or a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for each of the nine charges of capital murder. The punishment for the abuse of corpse charges ranges from one to 10 years, the AG’s office said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to indicate Reyes, whose address was in Tallapoosa County, is an undocumented Mexican immigrant who had previously been deported from the United States.

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