Suspect in Weslaco doctor’s murder scheduled for arraignment

A 20-year-old Weslaco resident authorities say was involved in the 2019 murder of a Weslaco doctor during an attempt to steal $25,000 is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges of murder and aggravated robbery.

Luis Antonio Valenzuela has remained jailed on a $1 million bond since his Jan. 10 arrest for his alleged role in the deadly robbery.

A grand jury indicted Valenzuela on June 23.

His co-defendants include 18-year-old Joel Ismael Gonzalez and 31-year-old Josue Benavides Torres, both of Alamo.

The trio is accused of shooting and killing Dr. John Dominguez on Nov. 7, 2019. Valenzuela is the alleged driver in the case.

In the first moments of the investigation, police responded to a two-vehicle collision on Business 83, but witnesses told investigators about the shooting and the two incidents were linked.

However, there were no immediate arrests in the case.

It wasn’t until the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department investigating a robbery learned that a dark blue Sonata used in that crime was also used in the Weslaco shooting, according to a probable cause affidavit.

That investigation led police to Gonzalez, who is the accused shooter in the case.

Detectives believe Benavides recruited Gonzalez for the robbery the same day of the fatal shooting after a “curandero” provided information about Dominguez, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“Benavides states that he was approached to secure this money by some force using threats of exposure to prior bad acts he committed with the person that contracted him, identified by Benavides as [redacted],” a probable cause affidavit states. “Benavides states he recruits both Joel Gonzalez and the Driver, who he identifies as Luis, to be the ones to make contact with the Doctor and extort the money from him by force.”

Gonzalez has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains jailed on a total of $137,000 in bonds.

Benavides is in federal custody and his arraignment was rescheduled from Monday to Nov. 18.