Pharr PD charges man with brother’s death in ‘violent attack’

PHARR — Investigators here allege a 60-year-old man murdered his older brother earlier this week before dumping his body in the bed of the man’s truck in a park about four blocks away from the crime scene.

David Sandoval made a first appearance in Pharr Municipal Court at approximately 4:30 p.m. Thursday where he was charged with capital murder, tampering with evidence and evading arrest for what police say was a “violent attack” on his brother, 66-year-old Ruben Sandoval, whose body was found about 24 hours earlier in Memorial Park.

Investigators also charged David Sandoval’s roommate, 53-year-old Roel Pecina, in the case.

Pecina is charged with tampering with evidence and failure to report a felony.

Police allege Pecina helped David Sandoval clean up the crime scene at the home they shared at 813 W. Hawk in Pharr.

Pharr Police Chief Andy Harvey said Thursday afternoon on the second floor of the police department that investigators haven’t yet honed in on a motive, but detectives continue to work to determine what caused what he called “a very violent attack.”

“What we found is the deceased body had multiple injuries to its head, some very, very severe. It was something very, very sharp, and like I said, it was just a very violent attack,” Harvey said.

The chief said investigators showed up at the residence Wednesday night and when they arrived, David Sandoval tried to run down an alley before being apprehended.

“Detectives conducted a search warrant at the house. They recovered several items that may be one of the murder weapons — we just don’t know for sure right now,” Harvey said. “They found several items that could have done this, including a couple of machetes.”

Harvey said police can’t say for certain, but the injuries indicate a machete was possibly used in the attack.

“We don’t know what the motive is. We know the attack was very violent, but we don’t know what caused it or what happened. We’re learning that. We’re investigating all of that right now,” he said. “The important thing is we arrested the individual responsible for this … very violent attack.”

Police are also continuing to work on the timeline of what happened.

Harvey said surveillance video at Memorial Park partially caught the truck there, which enabled investigators to determine the vehicle where Ruben’s body was found arrived at 12:28 p.m. Tuesday.

Pharr police responded to the park at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday.

“We believe he drove his brother’s truck with his brother in the bed of the pickup, dropped it off there in the park and walked home,” Harvey said. “Apparently he was driving around with his brother in the back — just a horrible, horrible thought, but that’s what happened.”

When police escorted David Sandoval into municipal court on Thursday, he briefly looked at several family members who had gathered for the hearing, including another brother.

He kept his head down for the rest of the proceedings, except to nod his head back and forth briefly after hearing the penalty for capital murder included death, if convicted.

Municipal court judge Criselda Rincon Flores issued a no bond on the capital murder charge for David Sandoval.

As for the tampering with evidence and evading arrest charges, he received a total of $12,500 in bonds.

Pecina received a total of $52,500 in bonds on the tampering with evidence and failure to identify charges.