By Attorney David Engler
The family of first generation Mexican immigrants lived in a small town named Shiner, Texas about 130 miles west of Houston. The land is not easy to farm because the sun is so relentless and the soil rocky.
But the extended family worked their farm and raised horses and crops enough to keep everyone fed. There was never enough money to buy the newest John Deere harvester or spend much money on building new barns.
When Jesus, 47, who hung around the local hardware shop and the two beer joints at night offered to come shoe the horses for a few bucks, the young 23 year old father of two agreed.
It was a Saturday in June and the work was going to be capped off with barbecued chicken on the grill. He had plenty of Mesquite wood lying around to give it a taste like his Dad used to make it. Sunday was going to father’s day. He would relax only then.
Around 3:30 pm Miguel heard a scream and at the same time a young neighbor boy turned the corner and yelled, a man had taken Angel from the house crying. Miguel could recall the sprint to the barn from where he heard his daughter scream. Back along a pile of fencing, Jesus was on top of his daughter with his pants at his ankles. By 4:30 pm the local coroner would pronounce Jesus dead. Miguel had landed the eight blows quickly to the head and neck of his daughter’s attacker. His five year old daughter was sobbing.
After beating Jesus Flores, the father called 911.
“I need an ambulance,” the father told the dispatcher, according to 911 tapes released by police. “This guy was raping my daughter and I beat him up and I don’t know what to do. This guy is fixing to die on me, man, and I don’t know what to do.”
“Come on! This guy is going to die on me!” he continued during the frantic, five-minute call. “I don’t know what to do!”
Emergency workers, as well as the daughter’s grandfather and aunt, tried to revive Flores but could not. Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said he found the distraught father crying, saying that he had not intended to kill Flores.
“He’s a peaceable soul, ” V’Anne Huser, the father’s attorney, said. “He had no intention to kill anybody that day.”
The local sheriff ruled it a homicide, because that is what it was. In the low hills of Texas people talked straight. Within a day the local prosecutor presented the case to a grand jury that just as plainly said, Miguel was justified.
Being justified. It is the doing of an act that no reasonable person would say should not have been done. No one really needs a law book to read the defense laid out in Texas law that deadly force to stop a sexual attack is justifiable. Of course it is. If Miguel’s wife had turned the same corner and seen this drifter raping her girl and her husband landing blow after blow; she would not have stopped it. There is not a place in my mind where I can say he should not have delivered such a sure and swift justice. The beauty of this story is the remorse shown by Miguel. No one would have ever blamed him yet he said he did not mean to kill.
The father’s protection of his children knows no bounds. For Miguel there will be nightmares. But he shall forever be justified.
Also published on Family Fault Lines Blog http://familyfaultlines.com/