Father cleared in beating death (video, 911 call)
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HALLETTSVILLE - A frantic father called 911 for help after fatally beating a man he caught molesting his 5-year-old daughter in a pasture 10 days ago.
A Lavaca County grand jury on Tuesday morning decided the death was justified.
During a news conference, Lavaca County District Attorney Heather McMinn said the 911 call was among the "substantial amount of evidence" that convinced a grand jury not to indict the 23-year-old Yoakum father in the death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47, of Gonzales.
McMinn, during the news conference, told the assembled media that "under the law in Texas, deadly force is authorized and justified to stop an aggravated sexual assault or a sexual assault.
"All the evidence presented by the sheriff's department and the Texas Rangers indicated that was in fact what was occurring when the victim's father arrived at the scene," McMinn said.
Although the father is named in the 911 tape, the Advocate is not using his name to protect the daughter's identity because she is a sexual assault victim.
McMinn said the girl suffered physical injuries that were noted by the sexual assault nurse examiner and that the injuries were "absolutely consistent with all of the witness statements."
McMinn said the girl is in good condition physically, but continues to deal with the emotional damage of the attack.
In the almost five-minute 911 call, the father has trouble telling the dispatcher his exact location.
"I need an ambulance. I need an ambulance," he shouts as the call begins. "This guy was raping my daughter, and I beat him up. I need an ambulance."
At one point the frustrated and crying father tells the dispatcher that someone else on the scene is going to perform CPR and he is going to take Flores to the hospital himself: "This guy is fixing to die on me ma'am, and I don't know what to do."
The call ends after the father tells the dispatcher, "The sheriff is here."
Preliminary autopsy reports indicated Flores suffered numerous injuries to the head and neck area.
Flores was assisting the father in the care of horses off the county road between Yoakum and Shiner.
In Shiner, public reaction supported the outcome of the grand jury.
"I think it was a good decision," said Shiner resident Lamont Matthews. "I would have done the same thing."
V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney from Shiner, also addressed the media on behalf of the family during the news conference.
"This has been a traumatic event, as you can imagine, in their lives," she said.
"We want you to be respectful of the fact that the child that the father was defending is the victim of a sexual assault.
"In our opinion, today the story is over. You will not get an interview from (the father) or his family. They want to move on."
Huser said the family extended their thanks to the sheriff's office, the Texas Rangers and the emergency medical technicians who took care of the girl.
She also thanked McMinn for taking the case to the grand jury so quickly and not waiting until the next regularly scheduled session July 10.
"By doing this today, they can start the healing process," she said. "You can only imagine, in the last week, we have been dealing with a lot of emotion."