A Texas father who caught a man raping his five-year-old will not be charged with homicide for beating the rapist to death with his bare hands.
A Lavaca County grand jury made the decision not press charges against the 23-year-old father in the death of 47-year-old Jesus Mora Flores, who was killed in a remote shack where he had been caught molesting the young girl.
Texas state law authorizes, and justifies, the use of deadly force to stop an aggravated sexual assault. This, coupled with the fact that the father made harrowing 911 calls and tried to save the rapist’s life, influenced the grand jury's decision.
Lavaca County sheriff's deputies stated that the father, whose name was not revealed to protect the little girl's identity, had sent the girl and her brother to feed the family's chickens.
The boy ran back to tell his father that his sister had been grabbed and taken to a small secluded shack. The father ran towards his daughter's screams and when he went inside the shack, found both the man and the girl with their underwear off.
He flew into a rage and beat Flores unconscious, then called 911 after making sure his daughter was safe.
Sheriff Micah Harmon had earlier stated that he was not willing to press charges against the father, and preferred that the case be presented to a grand jury.
Harmon stated at the time that the father was “very remorseful” and didn't know that he had killed Flores at the time.
He told CNN: “You have a right to defend your daughter. The girl's father acted in defense of his third person. Once the investigation is completed we will submit it to the district attorney who then submits it to the grand jury, who will decide if they will indict him.”
In the 911 calls, the father is heard at one point screaming at a dispatcher who was unable to locate the property, and even told the dispatcher that he was going to put the man in his truck and drive him to a hospital before sheriff's deputies arrived.
V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney, repeatedly told reporters at a news conference that neither the father nor the family were going to give interviews.
She stated: “He's a peaceable soul. He had no intention to kill anybody that day.”
The attack happened on the family’s ranch, located off a quiet, two-lane county road between Shiner and Yoakum.
According to authorities, the boy saw Flores “forcibly carrying” the girl into a secluded area and ran to his father, who pulled Flores off his child and “inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area.”
When emergency crews arrived, they found Flores' pants and underwear pulled down on his lifeless body.
The girl was examined at a hospital, and authorities revealed that forensic evidence and witness accounts corroborated the father's account that his daughter was being sexually molested.
District Attorney Heather McMinn told reporters: “Under the law in the state of Texas deadly force is authorized and justified in order to stop an aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault. All the evidence provided by the sheriff's department and the Texas Rangers indicated that's what was occurring when the victim's father arrived at the scene.”
Authorities stated that the father expressed regret over the killing, and that there was no evidence that led them to doubt his story.
The girl's grandfather called the killing an accident, and told the Victoria Advocate: “My son. Sorry. It was an accident.”
Sheriff Harmon added: “He was very remorseful. I don't think it was his intent for the man to die.”
The father’s actions largely received support from the residents of the small Lavaca County town, with many stating that the victim deserved it.
Sonny Jaehne told the Victoria Advocate: “He got what he deserved, big time.”
Mark Harabis echoed: “I agree with him totally. I would probably do worse. The family will have to deal with that the rest of their lives, no matter what happens to the father. Even if they let him go, he and his child will have to deal with that the rest of their lives.”
Sources: Daily Mail