Authorities have announced that a grand jury that met on Tuesday has declined to return an indictment against a Texas father in the death of a man he caught molesting his daughter. The father beat the alleged molester to death with his fists.
When the father saw that the man was about to die, he called 911 frantically, and pleaded with the dispatcher to send an ambulance. According to AP, the man was heard screaming on the recorded 911 call: "Come on! This guy is going to die on me! I don't know what to do!"
The recording was played on Tuesday at a news conference during which the Lavaca County district attorney and sheriff announced the decision that the father would not face charges over the June 9 killing of Jesus Mora Flores, 47.
According to AP, a Lavaca County grand jury decided that the man had the right to use deadly force to protect his daughter.
Michael James Veit, 48, a neighbor, said, "It's sad a man had to die. But I think anybody would have done that."
AP noted that the rural ranch on which the incident happened is a remote area. The ranch is situated off a two-lane county road between Shiner and Yoakum. According to a statement released by the district attorney, a witness said Flores (the molester) was "forcibly carrying" the girl into a secluded area. The man pulled Flores off his child and dealt him "several blows [on the] head and neck area."
The father could be heard swearing in frustration at the dispatcher, who appeared to be having trouble locating the ranch property. AP reports that at point, the father told the dispatcher he would put the man in his truck and drive him to hospital . He screamed: "He's going to die! He's going to f------ die!"
The father was so shaken and screaming on top of his voice that the call was often inaudible.
Emergency crews that responded said they found Flores' pants down and his underwear pulled over his body. The daughter was examined at a hospital. According to Lavaca County District Attorney Heather McMinn, forensic evidence and witness accounts matched the father's story that his daughter was being sexually molested.
The man had told the dispatcher that he beat up a man he found raping his daughter. NY Daily News reports prosecutors said the grand jury reached same conclusion as police: that the father had the right to use deadly force to protect his daughter.
The father's identity is being kept private to protect his daughter's identity. Digital Journal reported that Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon, had said there was no evidence that he beat the alleged molester to death for "any reason other than what he told us... In the course of trying to get [his daughter] away from him, and protect her, he struck the subject several times in the head and the subject died."
According to Digital Journal, when the sheriff was asked whether they would press charges, he said they were not pressing charges because: "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."
V'Anne Huse, the father's attorney, said that the father is "a peaceable soul. He had no intention to kill anybody that day."
According to Fox News, the family had hired Flores to take care of horses on the ranch. Fox News reports that the father's attorney told reporters that neither the father nor anyone else in the family would "ever" give interviews and said they wanted to be left alone.
Michael Veit, who lives across the street from the family, said the father was an easygoing person who always asked permission to search his property for animals that had wandered off his ranch although the families have known each other for a long time. He said the young father was never known to be in trouble. He said: "Just like a regular kid, went to dances, drank beer like the rest of the kids around here."
AP reports that according to Houston Criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Phillip Hilder, he would have been surprised if a grand jury indicted the father. He explained that Texas law provides for circumstances in which use of deadly force can be justified, including if someone commits a sexual assault. He said: "The grand jury was not about to indict this father for protecting his daughter."
Fox News reports that Flores had a green card and the Sheriff's office has been working with the Mexican Consulate to locate his family.