Alamo man to be sentenced to 40 years for killing Weslaco doctor

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Joel Ismael Gonzalez

One of three men involved in the 2019 shooting death of a Weslaco doctor has been found guilty of murder.

Joel Ismael Gonzalez, 21, Luis Antonio Lopez Valenzuela, 23, and Josue Benavides Torres, 35, all of Alamo, were all charged with murder and aggravated robbery after shooting and killing Dr. John Dominguez on Nov. 7, 2019.

According to a news release, Judge Luis Singleterry of the 92nd District Court found Gonzalez guilty for the murder of Dominguez this week. He will now face sentencing on Monday for confinement in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for 40 years.

Weslaco police had responded to a two-vehicle crash on Business 83 where the doctor was found dead.

According to probable cause affidavits, investigators initially believed that his death was the result of the crash, but witnesses informed police that a shooting involving two vehicles had occurred prior.

Investigators were able to obtain surveillance footage that revealed that Dominguez was leaving his business when another vehicle attempted to block him in. He was then approached by a man who began shooting at him.

Arrests would not be made until two months later when Runnels County sheriff’s deputies opened an investigation into an unrelated robbery. Deputies arrested the driver of a Dark Blue Sonata, who was later identified as Gonzalez’s brother.

The Sonata was identified as the same vehicle in the surveillance video released by the Weslaco Police Department showing the murder.

Luis Antonio Lopez Valenzuela and Josue Benavides Torres

Weslaco police revealed that Benavides was the mastermind behind the attempted robbery after receiving information from a “curandero” about Dominguez and masterminded the robbery. They believed that the doctor carried $25,000 in a briefcase.

“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],” the charging document stated. “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 was identified as the shooter.

“Justice demands harsh consequences as the defendant’s actions directly contributed to Dr. Dominguez’s death and put many other innocent people in harm’s way,” Hidalgo County District Attorney Toribio “Terry” Palacios said in a news release. “I want to thank the Weslaco Police Department and other involved agencies for their hard work and tireless effort in resolving this case.”