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Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Attorney for Accused Murderer of Texas Mason May Claim Client's "Mental Incompetence"

by Christopher Hodapp

The suspect arrested in the murder of a Freemason outside of the Masonic Hall in McAllen, Texas last July attended a hearing Monday in which his defense attorney asked the trial  judge for more time to research his client's mental competency. 

Julio Diaz, 35, of Alamo, Texas is accused of shooting Brother Robert Wise, 55, on July 10th as he was leaving McAllen Lodge 1110's officer installation ceremony. Security video showed a man resembling Diaz pull into the parking lot in a Chevy SUV, approach Wise, and open fire. Holding the gun in one hand and a phone in the other, Diaz recorded the incident and posted it on his social media account.

Upon hearing the shots outside, members came running out of the hall and spotted Diaz leaving the scene.  Police were immediately called, and Robert was found  in the parking lot next to his truck, with multiple gunshots to his face. He was rushed to a local hospital where he later died.

Photo: KRGV-TV5

A friend of Diaz reported him to police after the video had been posted online, and Diaz admitted to him online he had shot Wise.

In court today, Diaz' attorney Lennard Whittaker Molina asked the judge for an investigator, saying more time was needed to go through his client's medical records because he isn't sure if Diaz is competent for trial. From the KRGV-TV5 website:

The defense said Diaz has been diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and he had other diagnoses from Mexico. The judge asked if there were any documents stating that Diaz was mentally incompetent, and the defense said not yet. The defense and prosecution are both working to get Diaz psychologically evaluated before the trial starts.

Diaz' murder trial is now scheduled to begin January 22nd.

Photo: McAllen Lodge 1110 Facebook page

Brother Robert Wise left behind his wife, five children, and eleven grandchildren, along with brothers, sisters, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Diaz also faces a separate arson charge from an earlier incident when he had previously tried to set the McAllen lodge hall on fire back in September 2022. According to the filing in that case:

Diaz threw a brick through the doors of the Masonic Lodge in September 2022, poured gasoline on the floor and lit a piece of cardboard on fire. 
The complaint states a nearby surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Diaz admitted to his role in that fire after McAllen police arrested him in connection with Wise’s death.

Authorities obtained Diaz’s camera and found evidence that [also] linked him to a February 2023 fire at the Masonic Lodge in Weslaco, the complaint stated.

When he was arrested and questioned back in July, sources familiar with the investigation said that Diaz believed Masons are "devil worshiping Illuminatists." A Facebook commenter said Diaz had previously posted anti-Masonic comments on social media, claiming the lodge "had put a curse on him."

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