Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A time to kill.

Down in the wooded coastal plain of Lavaca County, TX, we're pretty proud of the Spoetzl Brewery that's been making Shiner beer for over 100 years. Also, there's a kind of old school wisdom that supports an interesting point in Texas law:
(a) A person is justified in using deadly force against another: (1) if the actor would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.31; and (2) when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary: (A) to protect the actor against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly force; or (B) to prevent the other's imminent commission of aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery.
Texas Penal Code Section 9.32

I've always wondered if I would see such a case. Dad walks in, finds another man molesting his daughter, and kills that man. The especially compelling part about this new case in Shiner, TX is that the alleged molester (now deceased) was with a 4 year old girl, and that the father used his bare hands to kill the man.

They'll trot it before the grand jury to get the dad acquitted, but it looks like everyone is willing to sign off on it, due to the above Penal Code reading.

If it happened the way that it is alleged, I'm fine with it, too, in my heart. But you know, the story reads that the father "stopped him by striking him in the head several times." How many strikes to the head were rendered after the effective cessation of the aggravated sexual assault?

I think back to the 2009 case of OKC pharmacist Jerome Ersland, who shot and killed a robber that he had just incapacitated, and was convicted of murder. There was even video of the whole stick-up.  But this was a little girl being raped, and this is Texas, and there's no video of the father's final swings, so I guess it's his story to tell.

I sincerely hope that, if it all went as he says, it all works out for the father and his daughter.

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At Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:49:00 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

My thoughts drifted to the "reasonable man" defense, in that it's difficult to say that a "reasonable man" would stop the attack after witnessing the (probable) violent assault on his four year old daughter until after the attacker was cold and still.

I mean, they do still make allowances for 'heat of the moment' overkill in defense of children, don't they? I know that at one time it would've been very hard to even get charges pressed against a father that killed a molester.

At Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

Phillip, there's nothing in the penal code that I know about that, but of course it would tend to mitigate the issue at trial.

But this is a good example of why we have grand juries. If 12 reasonable citizens decide to No Bill him, he's free and clear without a trial. The DA presents the case to the grand jury, and won't weigh in until after the investigation (including the autopsy) is complete, and really shouldn't say anything until after the grand jury have indicted or refused to.

At Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:25:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Concur. IN any case he saved the state the cost of a trial...

At Tuesday, June 12, 2012 7:56:00 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

Having mostly grown up in WV, I'm used to laws being a little... shall we say different? WV is one of the few states I know of that have "fighting words" incorporated into state law as being a positive defense against assault, and the only state I know of that has case law stating that if someone has threatened to kill you, you're allowed to go kill them first. The verdict stated that a person "should not live in fear of his life or safety" after someone has made a credible threat of harm, even if the act of preventative self defense happens with a time and distance remove.

Since most of the people I grew up around in WV felt the same way, I guess I look at things a little different than most people nowadays.

At Tuesday, June 12, 2012 9:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest that the number of strikes used were sufficient to cause the cessation of the assault. It is unknown whether a man will stop an assault after three strikes or eight. Perhaps the alleged molester had a cranium rated for 11 and a half strikes. Eleven just won't do, and twelve may be fatal... Use enough strikes to end the assualt? Mission accomplished.

At Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:56:00 AM, Anonymous greg tag said...


PC 9.31, 9.32 and 9.33, and specifically 9.33, make it clear that Force including Deadly Force, may be used to prevent commission of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

Bare-handed combat is usually messy , and knowing when the assailant has been " stopped" is likely pretty hard to determine in the heat of combat.

As you said, this is Texas, and I cant speak for the Lavaca County Grand Jury, but in Brazos County the Grand Jury would no-bill before the DA finished his remarks, and then vote to give Dad a medal for public service.

Another, disturbing thought- this is not likely the deceased actor's first rodeo- how many other little girls has he raped? The one thing for certain-sure, he isnt going to do it again.



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