Authorities said Tuesday that the young Texas father who ki*lled with his fists a man who was molesting his 5-year-old daughter will not be charged. They also released a dramatic recording of the dad pleading for help before the hired ranch helper died.
Tuesday, a grand jury in Lavaca County decided not to charge the 23-year-old father with mur*der in the de*ath of 47-year-old Jesus Mora Flores. According to the prosecutors, the grand jury came to the same conclusion as the police: the father had the right to use de*adly force to protect his daughter.
Flores was k*illed on June 9 on a family ranch that was so far away that the father can be heard swearing at a dispatcher who couldn’t find the property.
“All right! I’m going to k*ill this guy!” The dad yells. Say “I don’t know what to do!”
Because they want to protect the daughter’s privacy, the Associated Press is not saying who the father is. The AP doesn’t name people who have been sexually assaulted.
The tense, almost five-minute 911 call starts with the dad saying that he “beat up” a man who was raping his daughter. The father is getting more and more upset. He is swearing and crying into the phone so loudly that the call can’t be heard most of the time.
Eventually tells the dispatcher that he will put the man in his truck and drive him to the hospital before the sheriff’s deputies get there.
“He’s going to die!” the father screams. “He’s going to (expletive) die!”
During a news conference at the Lavaca County courthouse, the father’s lawyer, V’Anne Huser, told reporters several times in a harsh voice that neither the father nor his family will ever do interviews.
Huser said, “He’s a peaceful soul.” “That day, he didn’t plan to ki*ll anyone.”
The attack took place on the family’s ranch, which was off of a quiet two-lane county road in the middle of the farming towns of Shiner and Yoakum. Authorities say someone saw Flores “forcibly carrying” the girl to a remote area while she ran to find the girl’s father. As the father ran to his screaming daughter, police say he grabbed Flores and “inflicted several blows to the man’s head and neck area.”
When police arrived at the scene of the crime, they saw Flores’ pants and knickers pulled down over his de*ad body. The girl was taken to the hospital and checked out. Police say that forensic evidence and witness statements supported the father’s claim that his daughter was being sexually abused.
The k*illing was looked into as a mur*der, but the father was never arrested. The news conference was for Huser, the sheriff of Lavaca County, and the district attorney. No questions were asked.
Philip Hilder, a criminal defence lawyer in Houston who used to work as a federal prosecutor, said he was surprised if the grand jury had decided to charge the father. Hilder said that Texas law allows for the use of de*adly force in a number of situations, such as when someone is sexually assaulting someone else.
He said, “The grand jury wasn’t going to charge this dad with a crime for keeping his daughter safe.”
Police said the family had hired Flores before to help them with the horses on the ranch. He wasn’t born in the U.S., but he had a green card and was here legally.
A fresh “No Trespassing” sign was stuck on a gate on Tuesday, blocking access down a gravelly, shady path that leads to the ranch’s barn and chicken coop. The attack took place near the barn, according to the police.
Michael James Veit, 48, the father’s neighbour across the street, said the man was laid-back and polite, even to the point of always asking for permission to search his land for animals that had gotten off the ranch, even though the families have known each other for a long time.
Veit said, “They won’t find a jury pool here that will find him guilty.”
At the dad’s house, no one answered. The front yard looks like a playground for kids. There are blue pinwheels in the patchy grass, an above-ground pool, a swing set, a trampoline and some ropes hanging from a tree for swinging. A powder blue fence that gives some privacy has been painted.
A woman yelled through the front door of a house a few miles away that the family had nothing to say. The house was listed as belonging to the father’s sister.
Veit’s son graduated from Shiner High School with the father. They were in the same graduating class of about twenty. Veit said that no one knew that the young father was having a problem.
She went to dances and drank beer like all the other kids in her neighbourhood, Veit said. “I’ve never been in trouble.” Not ever, ever. In a way, I believe that justice has been done. It’s sad that a man had to die, but I believe anyone would have done what they did.
There was nothing found for Flores in the public records.
Shiner is a town of about 2,000 people west of San Antonio. Its main attraction is the Spoetzl Brewery, which makes Shiner, one of the most popular craft beers in the country. It’s sold on tap at petrol stations too.
The sheriff’s office has only looked into six mur*ders in the last eight years, and half of those cases involved three mu*rders. Flores’ de*ath is the sixth of those six. On a highway welcome sign, Shiner residents brag about how clean their city is: “The Cleanest Little City in Texas.”
At Werner’s Restaurant, customer Gail Allen said she didn’t want to speak for all of Shiner, though her comments might as well have.
“The father has gone through enough,” said Allen, 59, who has nine grandchildren. “The little girl is going to be traumatized for life, and the father, too, for what happened. He was protecting his family. Any parent would do that.”