Can there ever be such a thing as justified homicide?

Can there ever be such a thing as justified homicide?

In 2012, a call came in from a 24 year old rancher and father, to 9-11 from an isolated ranch in Shiner TX. He told 9-11:

I need an ambulance. This guy was raping my daughter and I don't know what to do"

Earlier a witness had seen the alleged rapist, a man named Jesus Flores, forcibly carrying the girl into a secluded area. The father, hearing his daughers screams, followed the sounds only to discover Flores and his daughter, both with underwear down, and Flores in the process of raping her. The father then proceeded to, well, beat the hell out of him, striking him repeatedly in the head and neck. On his 9-11 call he is also recorded as saying:

"Come on! This guy is going to die on me! I don't know what to do."

Flores eventually died, and the case was called into court as a prospective homicide, but no charges were ever filed and the father was set free. People everywhere hailed this father as a hero, many saying, they would have done the same if not worse to this guy. Others were outraged that no charges were filed because they felt like vigilanty style justice, is not justice and we cannot as a society allow people to take the law into their own hands. However, in Texas, deadly force is authorized and justified in order to stop an aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault and in this case, all evidence proved that the father had killed Flores in the process of the rape happening.

This particular case threw me because I consider myself to be a person that stands by the law, thinks an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, and would much rather criminals rot in jail for the rest of their miserable lives rather than a death penalty. However, even without having kids myself (though I have professionally worked with kids most of my career), I felt without a doubt in my mind that this father was justified in what he did even if perhaps he had not intended to kill Flores. As a parent it is an unspoken oath you take to defend and protect your children from harm no matter how old or young they may be. I just can't see in that situation what other course of action the father could have taken to protect his daughter (meaning, beating the guy up). However, if the case had been that the father found out after the fact that Flores had raped his daughter, then drove to his house and shot him to death, I think the public may have viewed this a bit differently, but in both cases, the father did or would have taken the law into his own hands.

So in your opinion, can there be such thing as justified homicide. Why or how? Hearing of this case, what do you think...should he have gone to jail or have been set free regardless of what actually happened in the case.


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What Guys Said 14

  • You're kinda like Batman, I suppose. You think killing is absolutely wrong. Yet what is worse?

    Would Batman killing the Joker have been the worse crime... or was letting the Joker live to kill, torture, and maim more and more people the greater crime?

    There absolutely is such thing as justified homicide. This is one of the most basic human rights--the right to fight to stay alive. If another person is going to injure, rape, or kill you, you have every right to fight to protect yourself. "The Law" is nothing more than an agreement among men to follow a set of rules for the benefit of all. If "the law" forbids people from protecting themselves or their loved ones from evil attack, then it is their right, their duty, to overthrow such government and secure new guards for the future.

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    • Did you read the ENTIRE take? Clearly, not.

  • Glad the court ruled in his favour. I am an ardent supporter of the death penalty since I believe there are people that could never be rehabilitated. These include serial killers, rapists, and pedophiles.

    In the case of the father he is not a threat to society so I see no reason for him to be locked away. As for the rapist if he survived putting him in prison would not have resolved the issue. There are a lot of repeat offenders in the US penal system and even if this happened in Norway and the rapist was sent to one of the best rehabilitation centres in the world, the stigma would always remain.

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    • I agree that I don't think most thought the father was a threat to society, but what if he hadn't walked in on them and had found out later and then gone to kill the man? The court only really supports an immediate threat, otherwise its considered pre-meditated murder. Is there a line that cannot be crossed there?

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    • That's really where the question came about... everyone that I've talked to generally has said in the actual situation, that the father did the right thing and many have said, they would have intentionally beaten him up to kill him, but when asked, what if the daughter told him and then drove over to kill him, people change their stories and he's now dangerous. In both the real and the hypothetical, the players are the same, the action is the same, but people have totally different opinions. And even supposing in the original that having seen what was happening the man had without a doubt intended to kill the rapist, would that have changed minds?

    • When it's in the moment even if the dad was thinking of killing the rapist it was due to extreme anger and adrenaline felt at that point in time. This is called third degree murder.

      First degree murder is premeditated, and anyone that truly wants to murder someone that much is a threat to society.

  • "Earlier a witness had seen the alleged rapist, a man named Jesus Flores, *forcibly carrying the girl into a secluded area.* "

    That would not be murder but defense of a person in danger: justified manslaughter.

    "However, if the case had been that the father found out after the fact that Flores had raped his daughter, then drove to his house and shot him to death": first degree murder.

    criminal.findlaw.com/.../...e-murder-overview.html

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    • Do you have any thoughts regarding the question at hand?

    • Quite simple.
      Killing to defend someone can be justified.
      Killing to avenge *not*.

    • Thanks for your viewpoint.

  • I feel similar to you about the rule of law and handling things in a civil manner as much as humanly possible. At the same time, I understand people are human, and when you see someone you love being harmed in that sort of way instinct takes over.

    What was he supposed to do? Allow the man to continue raping his daughter and just say "Hey man before you go hold on I need to have the police come talk to you"?

    Imagine your mother was being beaten in front of you. Would you risk her being beaten to death while you wait for the police, or would you intervene to protect her? Well that's what this man did. He was protecting a loved one, and accidentally killed the man in the process.

    Yes I feel in this sort of extreme circumstance, his actions were justified. If he had heard about the rape after the fact, then tracked down the rapist and murdered him in cold-blood, that would be a different story.

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    • I asked someone further down is the only difference, do you think, between this being a justifiable homicide and illegal one, a few minutes, seconds. If the child had just been raped and the father found out and then ran out after the guy intending to beat the crap out of him and ended up killing him---should he be sentenced to jail for that? Is the only reason this is justice, a few seconds difference in time?

    • Basically, yes.

      In one case you're acting to protect someone, in the other you're acting for revenge.

      Once you go past acting purely out of defense, you're taking justice into your own hands, which disrupts the rule of law.

  • I would have done worse to a guy that I found raped my daughter. He did nothing wrong and that homicide/torture was perfectly justified.
    Vigilante schmigilante.

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  • No homicide is justifiable. Murder is murder, and there are plenty of other alternatives. Threats, physically restraining the assailant, etc. I do believe this man should get a reduced sentence, but nothing short of complete self defence warrants to let a murderer go unpunished.
    Minors are special. Someone below 18 years of age who commits murder should be punished, yes. But in a special institution, not a jail.

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    • You believe that there are other alternatives but sometimes the only thing you can do is kill the person. He was defending his daughter and then probably after the fact he was defending himself because the rapist would've most likely fought back and he probably would've killed him because he witnessed the rape. Tell me what he was supposed to do. What other alternative did he have really?

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    • And no matter what country you hail from, you are the beneficiary of one or more wars. The laws we have, the freedoms we have, the places we are allowed to go wherever you are or globally, people fought for that and to spit on that and say everything could be solved simply by perhaps having a conversation is not in league with the world we live in. Look at ISIS. You think they are sitting down with the UN having conversations on peace. No, they are driving by towns and blowing women and children away because they feel like it and they want power.

    • Meh I was saying I don't think it's an "if", but a definite thing that will happen.

  • That is right. He doesn't deserves to be jailed or something. People must know that sometimes emotions can be dominant over the mind.

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  • The genocide of the Batarians was justified in Mass Effect. Not that they let you live it down, the tossers.

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  • I believe some homicides can be justified. The only people who should be charged and put in jail for life are people who kill for a more sinister reason

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  • I don't know but I'd be pretty angry with god if Jesus was raping my daughter.

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  • Of course there is, in cases such as self defense. The case you mentioned was not self defense so I don't think it's justified. At the same time, you have to use judgment and call it a crime of passion and give the accused leniency. Too many people get put in prison for stupid reasons, already. But giving people an open license to be judge, jury and executioner is not a good thing.

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  • of course in the same situation the best mercy i can give him is him to be crippled in a bed for the rest of his life

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  • Some motherfucker was raping his daughter so he beat him to death, I don't see why the father should be punished for protecting his daughter.

    If someone did that to my daughter I'd finish him off with a brick and serve the time, it's worth it.

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  • If an individual poses a threat to me or my family, I could care less what the law considers justified. I would rather sit in prison then live with a dead family member on my conscious. In my mind if they lose a threat it is justified.

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What Girls Said 6

  • I think what he did was more than fine. In fact it was needed - obviously physically needed!
    I don't understand people who say that no one deserves to die... People who say that have had the cushiest lives guarded and protected from everything - every second of their lives.

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  • I do think, in certain cases, homicide can be justified, yes. He didn't set out to kill anyone, only to defend his daughter from a horrifying and traumatic fate. I'm rather glad that he wasn't sentenced.

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  • I think you're "I'd it had been a case of" example is the point. It sounds like he set out to beat the crap out of the guy to get him to stop and not come back, which is reinforced by the 911 call. That's not murder. He didn't wake up intending to kill the guy. It happened as a result of circumstances. I'd consider this an extension of self defence. That is, self defence of your child. Similar to defending an attack on your person in ta bar and having the guy die, not planned murder.

    That's very different to setting out to bludgeon to death you child's boyfriend because you don't like him.

    Therefore I would say no, planning to murdet someone is not ok. However this is not the case here.

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    • Someone explained the technical legal differences further down, but there are so many people who read this case and the law agrees, that agreed this parent did the right thing and/or they would have done the same if not more to protect the child, but as in another example I gave, if the child told her father she'd been raped, and the father had gone and found the man and killed him, I wonder... is the general consensus that the father can only be justified in the moment the crime is happening? If the crime had happened and literally five minutes later the father found the rapist---how would that murder be any more or less justified then the exact heat of the moment? Is the only real difference between justified and illegal 30 seconds, a minute?

    • Since the legal definition is different in each case or country I was really talking an opinion not law. I think it's the intent of the person that matters

  • Illegal Homicide falls in two categories murder and manslaughter. The term homicide in a legal context is used often synchronously with murder, which clearly doesn't apply here, which is probably while charges weren't filed/

    self defense, like in this case it not illegal homicide and why should it be? That'd be insane. So ya there is justified homicide, no doubt about it
    Most laws do know other legal exception for homicide for example executions, or soldiers at war

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  • I absolutely think there are justifiable homocides. Many cops use that excuse and many of them are valid in my opinion. Just not the recent ones.

    Also, people defending their properties from burglars is another one. In Oklahoma, you are allowed to shoot someone if they trespass on your property.

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    • That's an unfortunate situation I know all too well. Years back my moms friends dad shot and killed what he thought was an intruder breaking in, and it turned out to be his daughters boyfriend trying to sneak into the window. He was never convicted, but the scars for everyone are very real.

  • yes of course. if you choose to harm someone (especially in such a horrible way) then you deserve whatever happens to you unless what you did was an accident of course. you can't "accidentally" rape someone.

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