"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Saturday, December 16, 2023

Family Of Murdered Texas Mason Suing Lodge For Negligence

Brother Robert Wise, 55, was killed in July after officer's installation
(Photos: McAllen Lodge 1110 Facebook page)

by Christopher Hodapp

The family of a Texas Mason who was murdered outside of a Masonic hall following an officers' installation ceremony has just filed a civil lawsuit against McAllen Lodge 1110 alleging negligence.

Brother Robert Wise was shot and killed in the lodge parking lot the evening of July 10, 2023, allegedly by an anti-Mason named Julio Diaz, who actually shot a video of the murder as it happened and posted it to his social media page.

A story on the MyRGV.com website reads, in part:

The surviving family members of a McAllen Masonic Lodge member’s summer murder filed a lawsuit saying the organization should have known about what they say is growing anti-Masonic resentment across the country.

And Robert Wise’s wife and children said they should have known about 35-year-old Alamo resident Julio Diaz, who is accused of fatally shooting Wise, 55, and posting a video of the murder to social media.

His surviving family members filed a lawsuit against McAllen Masonic Lodge No. 1110 on Nov. 27, alleging their negligence killed Wise because they ignored what they call a national trend of vandalism and threats against Masons, and because they did not install a light and security camera system purchased in 2022 until after Wise’s murder.

They also allege that the organization failed to warn its members about Diaz, who was known to the organization, because Diaz allegedly committed an act of arson at a Weslaco Masonic Lodge, which the McAllen members frequented, according to the petition.

McAllen Masonic Lodge No. 1100 is located at 118 N. 11 Street.

Wise walked out of that building on July 10 after being a member for more than two years and after a ceremony where he was named a “Junior Deacon.”

Police allege that’s when Diaz fatally shot him.


Following Wise’s murder, on July 28 at the McAllen Lodge, McAllen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez met with members and “stated the obvious.”

“At night, when one enters or exits the McAllen Lodge, the parking lot and surrounding area and the front of the building had no lighting. It was pitch black,” the petition stated. “The premises was unlit, unfenced, and completely unprotected from any trespasser at the time of Wise’s murder.

“The McAllen Lodge knew how vulnerable it and its members were, but did nothing.”

But even before this meeting, the petition says a popular blogger who writes about Masonic news, had been reporting that ever since the COVID lockdowns that “there has been an alarming increase throughout the U.S. and Canada in incidents of vandalism and arson against Masonic halls by admitted paranoid anti-Masonic extremists and conspiracists.”

(NOTE: I believe this is in reference to stories appearing on this website, which in no way could have predicted – or prevented – what happened. - CLH)

Then, on Dec. 6, 2021, the McAllen Lodge was vandalized and the location “became emblematic of the national trend on a local level.”

“Aware of the national trend and seeing it play out in their front yard, leaders of the McAllen Lodge pushed for the purchase of the light and camera system after this incident,” the petition stated. “Despite the full knowledge of the national and local trend of violence toward Masons, it took another act of vandalism in December of 2021 at the McAllen Lodge to prompt the purchase of a light and camera system.”

That happened sometime in 2022 when the McAllen Lodge purchased a light and camera system for about $2,000, according to the lawsuit.

“However, the light and camera system was not installed until months AFTER the murder of Robert Wise. In the wake of this security failure the criminal activity targeting the McAllen Lodge continued,” the lawsuit stated.

(NOTE: I have no way of knowing the veracity of these claims, but early reports immediately following the murder stated there was surveillance footage of the lodge's parking lot that provided details to law enforcement. The petition goes on to make the bizarre claim that the lodge wasted money on an entertainment event that would have been far more responsibly spent on security systems, as though lights and cameras could have in any way dissuaded the murderer from his premeditated action. - CLH)

On March 30, 2022, someone vandalized the location with graffiti that read “Sorcery against the Holy spirit and the human race must all be stoned to death.”

After that happened, the person who was the third in command sent text messages to the top two people in charge and the petition said nothing was done.

“Five months later, on September 15, 2022, the criminal struck again. The McAllen Lodge was vandalized, the front glass door smashed and fuel thrown into the building to start a fire,” the lawsuit stated.

After this incident, the petition said a high-ranking member on a state level sent out a message warning people to be vigilant and to secure the lodge building.

“Both the McAllen Lodge and the Grand Lodge had actual knowledge of the national trend and the specific threats to the McAllen Lodge,” the lawsuit stated. “What happened to Robert Wise was completely foreseeable and yet no action was taken.”

(NOTE: For decades, Masonic lodges have often received non-specific, threatening messages, accusing Masons of heresy, secret plotting, devil worship, mind control, and a raft of economic, political and religious conspiracies. Allegations like these date back as far as the early 1700s, and several states have reported numerous instances of finding anonymous warning letters plastered to lodge doors or stuck in mailboxes. It's infinitesimally rare for any actual harm or damage to come from these kinds of threats, but it's still unnerving to find them. Police won't act until an actual crime is committed, and judges often don't like sentencing obviously nutty people to jail time over their beliefs in conspiracies or overzealous religious beliefs. So what exactly is a lodge supposed to do when faced with these kinds of messages? – CLH)

The petition then cites two more arson attacks on Mason buildings on a national level and then another arson attack at the Llano Grande Masonic Lodge on Feb. 21 in Weslaco.

Julio Diaz remains held in the Hidalgo County
Adult Detention Center on an indictment charging 
him with murder and arson. He has a $1 million 
bond on the murder charge and a $5,000 bond
on the arson charge.


“This act should have prompted action. Julio Diaz, the alleged murderer of Robert Wise, videoed the Weslaco Lodge fire and uploaded it to his Instagram page,” the petition stated. “Now violence had a name and a face and it lived right next door. The McAllen Lodge routinely met at the Weslaco Lodge and Diaz knew it." 

On Aug. 7, Masonic leadership finally ordered the McAllen Lodge closed permanently.

“Too little … too late. Robert Wise was dead,” the lawsuit stated.

Read more at the myRGV.com website HERE.

Reviewing this long, sad story tonight, my heart ached once again for Brother Wise's grieving family. Understand that I am in no way making light of his family's grief and loss. But there's no way the lodge should be blamed for his murder. The arson fires, graffiti, online threats and other hate-filled actions of anti-Masons around the world that have been spotlighted by this blog are infuriating to all of us. But when you consider the tens of thousands of local Masonic halls around the globe that have NOT been attacked in any way, trying to predict and prevent every four-alarm lunatic's deranged attacks ahead of time isn't possible, or even feasible. All the lights and cameras in the world wouldn't have prevented this horrible act of hatred and extreme religious zealotry.

Moreover, suing the lodge won't bring Brother Wise back to life, nor will it do anything to prevent future anti-Masonic attacks on other Masons.

So why the lawsuit? 

Many decades ago, my brother and I were ardent teenaged railfans, and we would travel far and wide to photograph and make audio recordings of trains. One particular trip, I had a new Super8 film camera with an especially wide-angle lens I wasn't quite used to yet. As a train came blasting out of a tunnel in rural Tennessee, I was crouched low on the ground capturing an incredibly dramatic angle of the action, while peering only through my viewfinder. My brother Mike suddenly realized with horror that I was mere inches from having my head ripped off by the locomotive's low-riding front step. He leapt over to me, reached down, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and hurled me out of its path at the very last second.

As we both lay on the ground gasping for breath, I wondered aloud if some slick lawyer might have talked our parents into suing the railroad, had I been decapitated by one of their trains, even if we were trespassing and I had clearly been a completely irresponsible moron. 

"No," Mike said, rolling it over in his mind. "This railroad is declaring bankruptcy. You never sue anyone poor."

"Who would they sue then," I asked.

"Why, Eastman Kodak, of course," he replied. "Kodak manufactured the film that went into your camera, and you wouldn't have even been here if it weren't for that damned film. Definitely Kodak."


  1. This suit is almost certainly driven by our deceased Brother’s insurance company. Given he likely received very expensive emergency medical care, and very possibly had a life insurance policy, those companies are probably trying to recoup some of their losses from the insurer of the Lodge and Grand Lodge. -Charles Ward, Master Mason in Alaska.

  2. Many of our buildings are in dire need of far better fire escapes, better lighting, post covid ventilation, and a host of other long overdue safety measures. It is only a matter of time before this produces a major tragedy. The leadership should have concentrated on this by a nationwide program with answers that enable us to retain but remedy.


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