ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three teenagers accused of fatally beating two homeless men beyond recognition with cinderblocks, bricks and a metal fence pole may have been terrorizing transients around Albuquerque for months, police said Monday.
Alex Rios, 18, and two boys, ages 16 and 15, were scheduled for arraignment Monday on murder charges in the Friday night killings.
The 15-year-old told police the attack lasted more than an hour, and that the trio took turns picking up cinderblocks over their heads and smashing them into the faces of the men who had been sleeping in a field across from his home, according to a criminal complaint.
A third transient who escaped led police to the boys, whom he said were known for attacking homeless people. The 15-year-old told police the trio had attacked more than 50 people over the last year. And his father told an Albuquerque television station there were rumors his son was violent, but he assumed it was with other kids.
Gilbert Prieto told KOB-TV that he has no idea what prompted the beatings, and that he and his family had once been homeless themselves.
“It’s so hard that he could do that to someone where… I mean, like I said, we came from there,” said Prieto, the father of the 15- and 16-year-olds accused. “You know what I mean? We’re not there now, but that’s where we… We got out of there.”
According to the complaint, the teenagers came home from a party and one of them was “very angry” over a breakup with a longtime girlfriend. So they covered their faces with black T-shirts and went out to look for someone to beat up and possibly rob.
The attack was so brutal it stunned even veteran police officers.
“I personally, after reading that complaint, was sick to my stomach because of the nature of the violence and the age of the offenders,” police spokesman Simon Drobik said.
Officers responded Saturday around 8 a.m. to a 911 call reporting the two bodies in a field. They found one victim lying on a mattress and another lying on the ground. Jerome Eskeets, a third victim who said he was able to flee, was hospitalized with injuries.
Eskeets told police that he recognized one of the “kids” hitting and kicking him as someone who lived in a house nearby, and police found the trio of suspects there.