Neighbors, friends defend father who killed molester (Video)
By By Carolina Astrain
June 16, 2012 at 1:16 a.m.
Updated June 17, 2012 at 1:17 a.m.
Neighbors defend father's reaction
Neighbors share their thoughts about the June 9 beating death near Shiner.
The unspeakable happened on a hot South Texas afternoon.
Jesus Mora Flores, 47, was found half-naked with a 5-year-old girl by her father in a rural farm pasture off County Road 302 between Shiner and Yoakum. The girl's father immediately threw Flores from "on top of his child," a witness said, and beat him to death.
The Shiner father and his family have declined interviews since the June 9 incident. However, family friends and neighbors are speaking in defense of the father who they said did not mean to kill the man he caught molesting his daughter.
Flores had been hired by the child's 23-year-old father to care for horses on the property, according to neighbor Michael Veit, who has known the family since they moved to Shiner about 15 years ago.
"Both sons went to school with my kids," Veit said. "We've helped them with animals and stuff down there. They've helped us out with stuff, too. They've been good neighbors."
Veit said he would have done the same for his 11-year-old son, Mikey, who used to play in a lot next to where the crime occurred.
The main reason Veit decided to speak to the media, he said, was to defend not only his neighbors, but to also protect his son, who is half-Filipino and half-white. Veit said kids at school usually confuse him as Mexican.
"I've decided to come out to the media because of the minority issue," Veit said. "As a white man, I understand that there are people that are going to be framing this as a 'Mexican problem' because we're so close to the border. As a parent, I want to protect my son from hate."
Mikey is friends with the unidentified witness who informed the father soon after seeing Flores run off with the girl.
"That dude (Flores) gave him (the witness) $5, and he went to go get the chicken feed. He came back to tell him (Flores) there was no chicken feed, then he saw him jump over the fence with the girl and she was screamin' and hollerin' back there," Mikey said. "He (the father) beat him and took back his daughter, then jumped back to see if he was dead. It's pretty shocking that something like that would happen. I mean, this is a small town."
Authorities said Flores possessed a permanent resident card - more widely known as a green card.
Other community members also said they were concerned about the racial implications from the tragic events.
Eliana Rosales, 18, is a waitress at Mi Tierra in Yoakum, where the Shiner man grew up. Because the molester was Latino, Rosales said, she worries about the message that fact might send to the community in Lavaca County.
"It does kind of make us Chicanos look bad," Rosales said.
Another family friend, who asked that her name not be published, said she's been in contact with the family since the attack. She said that more than anything, "they feel embarrassed about the whole thing."
The autopsy report on Flores is not expected to be completed for several weeks. The Lavaca County Sheriff's Office is working with the Mexican Consulate to locate the man's family. Lavaca Sheriff Micah Harmon said the girl's family and father have cooperated with authorities. To protect the girl's identity, the family's name will not be released to the public. The Advocate's policy is not to identify the victims of sexual assault.
The grand jury will hear the case next week. Meanwhile, family friends and neighbors agree the father's reaction was reasonable. They also think the public should not draw any conclusions about any ethnicity or race from the tragedy.
"Justice was served," Veit said. "What happened there is unfortunate that a man lost his life behind this because we're all God's people, but, in an instance like that, anyone would have reacted that way."