District Attorney Heather McMinn, left, and Lavaca County Sheriff Mica Harmon announce that a grand jury declined to return an indictment against the young father Tuesday
A Lavaca County grand jury Tuesday declined to indict the 23-year-old father in the death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47. Prosecutors said the grand jury reached same conclusion as police after reviewing the evidence: The father was authorized to use deadly force to protect his daughter.
Flores was killed June 9 on a family ranch so remote that the father is heard profanely screaming at a dispatcher who couldn't locate the property.
"Come on! This guy is going to die on me!" the father yells. "I don't know what to do!"
The tense, nearly five-minute 911 call begins with the father saying that he "beat up" a man found raping his daughter. The father grows increasingly frazzled, cursing and crying into the phone so loudly at times that the call often becomes inaudible.
At one point tells the dispatcher he's going to put the man in his truck and drive him to a hospital before sheriff's deputies finally arrive.
"He's going to die!" the father screams. "He's going to (expletive) die!"
V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney, sternly told reporters several times during a news conference at the Lavaca County courthouse that neither the father nor the family will ever give interviews.
"He's a peaceable soul," Huser said. "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. Authorities say a witness saw Flores "forcibly carrying" the girl into a secluded area and then scrambled to find the father. Running toward his daughter's screams, investigators said, the father pulled Flores off his child and "inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area."
Emergency crews found Flores' pants and underwear pulled down on his lifeless body by the time they responded to the 911 call. The girl was taken to a hospital and examined, and authorities say forensic evidence and witness accounts corroborated the father's story that his daughter was being sexually molested.
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 committing 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 U.S. but was here legally with a green card.
Across the street, neighbor Michael James Veit, 48, described the father as easygoing and polite — down to always first asking permission to search his property for animals that had wandered off the ranch, even though the families have long known each other.
"They won't find a jury pool here that will convict him," Veit said.