Texas man will not be charged for beating daughter's molester to death...a good call?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by NickZac, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    Texas man will not be charged for beating daughter's molester to death
    Grand jury says 23-year-old man was within his rights to use deadly force to protect daughter from attacker on family's ranch

    Associated Press
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 June 2012 10.40 EDT



    Hearing his 5-year-old daughter crying from behind a barn, a father ran and discovered the unthinkable: A man molesting her. The father pulled the man off his daughter, authorities say, and started pummeling him to death with his fists.

    With his daughter finally safe, the father frantically called 911, begging a dispatcher to find his rural ranch and send an ambulance.

    "Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the man is heard screaming on the 911 call. "I don't know what to do!"

    A recording of the tape was played during a news conference Tuesday where the Lavaca County district attorney and sheriff announced that the father will not face charges.

    In declining to indict the 23-year-old father in the June 9 killing of Jesus Mora Flores, a Lavaca County grand jury reached the same conclusion as investigators and many of the father's neighbors: he was authorized to use deadly force to protect his daughter.

    "It's sad a man had to die," said Michael James Veit, 48, who lives across the street from where the attack happened in this small community run on ranching and the Shiner beer brewery. "But I think anybody would have done that."

    The family ranch is so remote that on the 911 tape, the father is heard profanely screaming at a dispatcher who couldn't locate the property. At one point, he tells the dispatcher he's going to put the man in his truck and drive him to a hospital.

    "He's going to die!" the father screams, swearing at the dispatcher. "He's going to ****ing die!"

    The tense, nearly five-minute call begins with the father saying he "beat up" a man found raping his daughter. The father grows increasingly frazzled, shouting into the phone so loudly at times that the call often becomes inaudible.

    The Associated Press is not identifying the father in order to protect the daughter's identity. The AP generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.

    "He's a peaceable soul," V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney, told reporters at the Lavaca County courthouse. "He had no intention to kill anybody that day."

    The attack happened on the family's ranch off a quiet, two-lane county road between the farming towns of Shiner and Yoakum. A statement released by the district attorney said a witness who saw Flores "forcibly carrying" the girl into a secluded area scrambled to find the father. Running toward his daughter's screams, the father pulled Flores off his child and "inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area," investigators said.

    Emergency crews responding to the father's 911 call found Flores' pants and underwear pulled down on his lifeless body. The girl was examined at a hospital, and Lavaca County district attorney Heather McMinn said forensic evidence and witness accounts corroborated the father's story that his daughter was being sexually molested.

    The father was never arrested, but the killing was investigated as a homicide.

    Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said he would have been surprised if the grand jury had decided to indict the father. Hilder said Texas law provides several justifications for the use of deadly force, including if someone commits a sexual assault.

    "The grand jury was not about to indict this father for protecting his daughter," he said.

    Authorities said the family had hired Flores before to help with horses on the ranch. He was not born in the US but was here legally with a green card. Attempts to locate Flores' relatives through public records were unsuccessful.

    On Tuesday, a new "No Trespassing" sign was freshly tacked onto a gate barring entrance down a gravelly, shrub-canopied path leading to the barn and chicken coop on the ranch, which belonged to the father's dad.

    At the father's house, the front yard could pass for a children's playground: blue pinwheels sunk into patchy grass, an above-ground swimming pool, a swing set, a trampoline and a couple of ropes dangling from a tree for swinging. A partial privacy fence is painted powder blue.

    No one answered at the father's home. A few miles away, at a home listed as belonging to the father's sister, a woman shouted through the front door that the family had nothing to say. Huser, the father's attorney, told reporters that neither the father nor anyone else in the family would ever give interviews and asked that they be left alone.

    Veit, who lives across the street from the ranch, described the father as easygoing and polite — down to always first asking permission to search Veit's property for animals that had wandered off the ranch, even though the families have long known each other.

    Veit's son was a classmate of the father's at Shiner high school in a graduating class of about two dozen. Veit, 48, said the young father was never known to be in trouble.

    "Just like a regular kid, went to dances, drank beer like the rest of the kids around here," Veit said.

    Shiner, a town of about 2,000 people about 80 miles east of San Antonio, revolves around the Spoetzl Brewery that makes Shiner, one of the nation's best-selling independent beers. Even gas stations here sell it on tap.

    Flores' death is only the sixth homicide the Lavaca County sheriff's office has investigated in the last eight years. Shiner residents boast their squeaky-clean image on a highway welcome sign: "The Cleanest Little City in Texas."

    At Werner's Restaurant, customer Gail Allen said she didn't want to speak for the whole town, though her comments echoed what others said.

    "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."

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/20/texas-man-not-charged-beating-molester?newsfeed=true

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    It's sad that a person died, but I think the grand jury made the right call 100%. The man did everything he could to save and offender after ensuring his daughter was safe. Texas has very strong laws that state that deadly force is "authorised and justified" in order to stop a sexual assault. They are stronger than most other states, and I would imagine most other countries as well. I believe they work and this case is a prime example...in some other states, this man could have been charged for murder and faced jail time. Your thoughts? Was this a good call? Should other states consider enacting self defense laws as such?
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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  3. kolax macrumors G3

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    If dispatch had found his ranch quicker and the man's life had been saved, would he have been charged with attempted murder?

    Tough jury decision but it seems the death was accidental and was brought on through defensive of his daughter to stop a sexual assault.

    Be a different verdict in the UK courts I'd imagine..
     
  4. Eraserhead macrumors G4

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    I'd hope not.
     
  5. 184550 Guest

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    I see nothing wrong with the outcome.

    He protected his daughter and after the attacker was subdued, he called for police and EMS.
     
  6. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    I wish him and his daughter the best. Any other outcome would have just been salt in the wound..
     
  7. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    Nor do I.
     
  8. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

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  9. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    I think there would be something wrong with you if you felt this wasnt a good call.
     
  10. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    We should be promoting peace and love, man! :cool:
     
  11. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    I'm good with this.;)

    He would also be found not guilty here in the Netherlands.
     
  12. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

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  13. iStudentUK, Jun 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012

    iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    #13
    I doubt it. Contrary to the rubbish published in the tabloids, UK self defence laws are quite fair. Somebody's actions after the fact are not a legal defence, but the father's 911 call goes to show his actions were focused on saving his daughter in a horrid situation. UK law does consider the subjective view when assessing self defence.

    His actions were extreme, but it was an extreme situation and be perceived it as such. It's hard to tell from the reports, but it appears his 'beating' was one continuous action. The father, attacker and girl were in an isolated area. If he had failed to overpower the attacker there was nobody else to step in. Yes he may have thrown a few more punches than strictly necessary, but the father had to be sure the attacker was subdued. It would have been different if the father had, for example, restrained the attacker and continued the beating. But nothing like that appears to have occurred. Therefore I would suggest his reaction was within the range of reasonable responses, and he would have good grounds for self defence in the UK. An unfortunate situation, but I don't think it would be murder.
     
  14. Gelfin macrumors 68020

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    #14
    There was an investigation, a witness, and the records depict a man who, far from going out looking for an excuse to kill somebody, did all he could to save the life of the man who assaulted his daughter, after using physical force to stop an immediate threat.

    Based on the limited information at hand, I can't see any reason this should have gone any differently.
     
  15. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    sadly enough the dispatcher failing to find the ranch more than likely saved the guy from a civil law suit. dead men can not sue.
     
  16. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

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    Surely their estates can? They can here and one of the reasons is to ensure justice is not prevented just because somebody died, in an extreme case it may actually encourage somebody to kill someone if they thought they could get away with it to avoid a civil suit. Anyway if the man had survived and tried to sue the father would surely have an excellent ex turpi defence, or whatever the equivalent is in Texas.
     
  17. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

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    They can problem is the legal cost. I am willing to bet even if the guy had lived and sued it just would of been a high legal cost for the father. Mind you if the guy had lived chances are he would be deported very quickly.
     
  18. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

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    #18
    Why?

    Surely they would grant costs to the defendant in an unsuccessful tort suit?
     
  19. iStudentUK macrumors 65816

    iStudentUK

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    #19
    The good thing about the UK is at the end of a civil case the default costs order is the loser pays the winners costs. I don't think the US has that default? Although I'd hope the father would have been able to get the case thrown out in 5 mins- here you can apply for summary judgement if you think the other side has no realistic prospect of success.
     
  20. mrkramer macrumors 603

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    #20
    Looks like they made the right call, the police investigated and it looks like the father was just trying to do what it took to protect his daughter, not out trying to kill someone.
     
  21. NickZac thread starter macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    This is awesome to know. Thanks for sharing! I know a good bit about self defense laws within the US (which vary greatly by state), but very little about other countries' defense laws.



    In most cases, yes. Even if you are cleared of criminal wrongdoing, you can still lose virtually everything you ever knew in civil court. It's one of the many reasons to make every effort to avoid using force. Now in a case like this, I truly believe it was unavoidable and he likely saved his daughter's and/or his own life, but at the cost of the attacker's. IIRC the man does not have any relatives within the US, so I'm not sure how that would impact it.
     
  22. VulchR macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Honestly I think the father acted more ethically than I would have. I doubt I would have called 911 so promptly....
     

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