Man accused of Harlingen murder to be evaluated
A Harlingen man accused of stabbing and killing a 61-year-old woman in 2016 told a judge Thursday morning that he did not understand what was happening in the courtroom.
Rogelio Roy Suarez, 53, is accused of murdering Estella Dowdy, 61, who was found dead on a floor in her home at 19077 Thieme Road in Harlingen’s southern outskirts on July 24, 2016.
Suarez, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder, appeared in court for an announcement hearing preceding a trial that was scheduled for Nov. 26.
During the hearing, his attorney, Gabriela Garcia, told 445th state District Judge Gloria Rincones that she was having trouble communicating with Suarez.
When Rincones asked Suarez whether he understood the court proceedings, Suarez stumbled over a few words before telling Rincones: “To be honest, no.”
Garcia told Rincones that the communication problems are the result of medical treatment, and court records indicate that Suarez has had medical problems since at least June 2017 when Rincones granted a motion for surgery.
Rincones ordered a mental competency examination to be completed in 30 days and scheduled a trial for Jan. 22.
After Suarez’s arrest, Cameron County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Gus Reyna Jr. said authorities discovered Dowdy’s body after a neighbor reported to the sheriff’s office that they had not seen her for several days.
Reyna told reporters that investigators pieced together a chain of events that implicated Suarez, who confessed to the murder after being confronted with the facts of the case, according to police.
Suarez was last seen at Dowdy’s residence three to four days before he was arraigned on July 23 for aggravated assault for stabbing his common-law wife in a separate case, Reyna said at the time.
Authorities initially charged Suarez with capital murder, but he has since been re-indicted on a charge of murder by a habitual offender, court records indicate.
That indictment alleges Suarez stabbed Dowdy “with a fork, and/or scissors, and/or garden trimmers, and/or an object unknown to the Grand Jury and/or strangling Estella Dowdy with Defendant’s hand and/or a shoe lace, and/or an object unknown to the Grand Jury.”
The charging document also lists two enhancement counts, including a burglary of a building conviction from 1989 and a continuous violence against the family conviction from 2010.