Mario Palacios Jr. plead "Not Guilty" to a capital murder charge in the death of his three-year-old stepson, Ulysses De La Rosa .
The plea came in a waiver of arraignment filing Wednesday, March 6 in the 83rd District Court. Neither Palacios nor his court-appointed attorney Jeff Sheets were in court, hence the waiver filing.
Palacios is scheduled in court on April 3 for a pre-trial hearing. He remains in the Pecos County Jail on a $1,000,000 bond.
All people are presumed innocent unless found guilty.
The Pecos County Grand Jury indicted Palacios on Feb. 5.
According the grand jury indictment: "On or around Nov. 17 2018, Mario Palacios Jr. intentionally and knowingly caused the death of an individual, Ulysses De La Rosa, by striking in a manner and means unknown to the grand jury. " The child died a few days later.
Sheets is with the Regional Public Defender For Capital Cases office in Lubbock.
A multi-page Discovery Disclosure statement filed Feb. 28 by prosecutors lists a range of evidence including 11 voluntary statements, photo taken by staff at two hospitals, law enforcement reports, interviews with the child's mother, polygraph test results and photos of text messages.
Palacios was arrested and jailed Nov. 28 and charged with capital murder in the death.
He was out on $60,000 bond after being charged with "Injury to a Child, 1st Degree Felony," but faced the new charge after the boy died Nov. 27, a little more than a week after being hospitalized with injuries that have prompted the child abuse investigation.
According to an arrest affidavit from the Fort Stockton Police, the child was found to have severe brain damage upon being taken to Pecos County Memorial Hospital unconscious on Nov. 17. The child was later airlifted to Covenant Children’s Hospital in Lubbock.
Hospital staff called the police department. Investigators found the child had bruises on his his legs, buttocks, chest, shoulders and forehead.
According to the police report, the child's mother said the child was in good health when he was left with Palacios around 11 p.m. on Nov. 16. the child arrived at the hospital around 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 17.