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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Death of a Horse Groomer

Posted by on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM


A Texas father caught a man sexually assaulting his 4-year-old daughter and punched him in the head repeatedly, killing him, authorities said.

The father was casually acquainted with the alleged abuser, said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon.
Neither has been publicly identified.

The girl was left inside the family's house during the social gathering, while other members of her family were tending to horses, the sheriff said.

The alleged abuser was known for his horse-grooming abilities, Harmon said.

My mind returns to a faded memory of a story that appeared on a TV screen somewhere between 81 and 83. The story was about a mother who, after a bad crash on a country road (ditch, smoke, spinning wheels, crunched metal), lifted a whole car to save the life of her trapped child. This supernatural strength was attributed to a sudden forgetting of self and limits. The woman was not herself when she lifted the car to save the child's life. She was someone who could only be liberated when her panicked mind forget who she was. She amazed herself.
[Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon] described [the father of the molested girl] as "very remorseful," adding that he didn't know the man was going to die.


Comments (29) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Unfortunately, since for some people it's not about the girl or her father or even the abuser, but instead about the release of otherwise-unacceptable emotion aimed at an acceptable target, there will be people giving him cheers he (decently) does not want to hear.

I've no children, and I'm against the 'out' of crime passionelle as a viable defence in the case of adultery, but what I have observed of parents (and have felt when pets have hacked some of the same systems in me) I think that in this case competence to moderate his attack might be absent.

If I had to sentence him to something, it would be to practicing a traditional martial art that emphasises intention over uncontrolled passion (to help people stay decent, and to be better fighters).
Posted by Gerald Fnord on June 12, 2012 at 9:06 AM · Report this
Allyn 2
Good on him. Hope the dad’s not indicted, that he’s protected by stand-your-ground laws.

Oh, wait. That's only about protecting gun users, not children.

We must keep our priorities straight.
Posted by Allyn on June 12, 2012 at 9:08 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 3
The Incredible Hulk
Posted by Urgutha Forka on June 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
mikethehammer 4
I seem to remember those stories of women lifting cars off of children circulating among goofy Christians back in the 80's. They were always citing some sort of divine element to the act and so I'd just written them off as herculean exaggerations, if not outright fabrications.
Posted by mikethehammer on June 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
"A Texas father..."

Texas is an interesting place in terms of notions of justice. The guy will either be let off completely under the "had it com'n" doctrine, or be sentenced to death, under the " 'nother log on the fire" one.
Posted by Tex Ass on June 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
I have to call bullshit on the mom lifting a car story. I've just spent far too much time on Snopes trying to prove or disprove it, but came up empty.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on June 12, 2012 at 9:19 AM · Report this

That's exactly what I would do had it been my daughter.

Just sayin'
Posted by balmontguy on June 12, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 8
I know it is too much to ask for you to do a minute of research Charles, but the story you mention was a woman lifting one side of a car a few inches until rescuers could insert a jack to hold the car up. Nowhere near lifting "an entire car."

Research shows that this not really increased strength, but simply adrenaline and endorphins blocking out pain and fatigue sensors. In other words, you can always do these things, but it hurts, so you stop. In a crisis, the pain is suppressed.

Also, you do not need increased endurance or strength to kill someone with your bare hands by hitting them on the head.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on June 12, 2012 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Good on him. I wouldn't have stopped hitting until either the guy's head or my hand were mush. I hope he and his daughter can deal with this trauma, and both have my deepest sympathy.
Posted by NateMan on June 12, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Man, I hope I'm never in that situation.
Posted by six shooter on June 12, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Report this
@6, A teenager lifted a car off his grandfather a couple of months back. It's amazing what adrenaline can do.…
There's also this:…

Though I don't really equate lifting a car off of someone with killing someone by punching them in the head. It's not super hard to kill someone if you hit them in the right spot. It's why sometimes inoccuous seeming bumps to the head result in death.

I can't fault the man for his reaction. His instinct to protect his daughter kicked in and that's okay by me. I also think it a far superior reaction than the ones that played out in the Jerry Sandusky case. See someone abusing a child and do nothing? Shameful. React with anger to protect. Good and defensible. I think it's a shame that the abuser died but I won't heap guilt or shame on a man for protecting his kid.
Posted by moosefan on June 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM · Report this
treacle 12
Horrible, all the way round. Although it *is* instant justice for the abuser. :/
Posted by treacle on June 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM · Report this
Vince 13
I've heard of one punch killing someone. This story about molestation, however, may or may not be true. Suppose they fought about something else and seeing he killed the man, made up the story.
Posted by Vince on June 12, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Wow, Charles. I catalog DVDs at the library. I just catalogued Season 1 of The Incredible Hulk. On my break, I go on to Slog to see what Mudede's doing. And you're talking about Episode 1 of The Incredible Hulk.
Posted by ratzkywatzky on June 12, 2012 at 10:12 AM · Report this
@2 - On the off chance that you are serious, 'stand your ground' laws generally refer to deadly force and not the instrument that delivers it. Fists, knives, guns, Italian Vogue - you are good to go.
Posted by Action Slacks on June 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
blip 16
"Good on him" is such a strange expression. It must be a Seattle thing because the only place I see it is on Slog. Carry on.
Posted by blip on June 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM · Report this
@11 as somebody who boxed and kickboxed for nearly twenty years I can state with some authority it is indeed fairly difficult to kill somebody with a punch. Or I would be dead because I sucked and got punched constantly. Of course I never got into street fights and I fought other trained people who could protect themselves.

What we called "Rabbit punches" (striking the back of the head) were illegal in sport fighting because of the cumulative concussive effect and the rare chance you could kill somebody. Anyway, It's kinda hard to punch somebody in the back of the head. You sometimes see dirty fighters pull a guys head down in the clinch and "slap" the back of the other guys head which can cause a flash knockout pretty easily.

It's the back of the head that is particularly vulnerable and what usually causes a fatality in street altercations is when a person falls after a getting tagged and hits the back of their head on concrete. Or repeated punches to the face and head while the victim is prone and has their skull trapped against a hard surface (that's why in the UFC fighters are now trained to mostly throw lateral hooks when they're in mount).

I'd bet that's what happend here. The guy got on top of the molester dude and unloaded while the molester dudes head was bouncing off concrete. That's why you break that shit up if you see it.

But all that stuff about occipital or bridge of the nose "bones" (the nose is cartilage) being driven into the brain with a punch is nonsense.

Anyway. Just wanted to pop in and dispel a potential myth before the Ninjas Shut-ins on here all assumed they could kill with... ONE BLOW! HYAH!
Posted by tkc on June 12, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Allyn 18
@15 no, I'm not serious.
Posted by Allyn on June 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 19
Gosh, I hope he didn't fuck up his hands too badly.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on June 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Report this
@16 - it's also common-place in New Zealand - so much so that "on ya" is a frequently used congratulatory colloquialism, with the 'good' taken as implied.
Posted by boyd main on June 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM · Report this
@17, First off I didn't suggest that killing someone by punching them was somehow super easy. Only that hitting someone in the right spot can easily kill someone. And I'm not wrong:………
From that last source: May be natural, due to rupture of a dilated blood vessel (an aneurysm), or traumatic.
SAH is highly irritant to the brain-stem and is usually rapidly fatal. Traumatic SAH may is usually associated with contusion or laceration to the brain surface.
Rarely SAH is due to a kick or blow to the side of the neck which stretches and ruptures the vertebral artery as it enters the cranial cavity. This phenomenon is called traumatic basal SAH and is most often due to a blow to the side of the chin or jaw in an alcoholic fist-fight. The degree of force required to cause death in this way is less than would be reasonably expected, resulting in prosecution for culpable homicide, rather than murder.
Posted by moosefan on June 12, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
@16: I'm in MA, never been to Seattle. You hear it some around here too, guess I never really thought about it.
Posted by NateMan on June 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM · Report this
Good on ya (mate) is Aussie and NZ every day usage
Posted by ruthw on June 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Texas Father: "I'm very remorseful about killing that guy"
Sheriff Micah Harmon: "It's OK."
Posted by jnonymous on June 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM · Report this
Too bad he didn't kill the filthy bastard with repeated kicks to the balls instead. Good riddance.
Posted by DanFan503 on June 12, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 26
Life imitates The Wire.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on June 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this

Sorry I didn't mean imply you specifically said it was easy. But I wanted to head off the yarn spinners. It's still very, very, rare to punch somebody dead.

BTW: The two deaths cited one was a freak aneurism of a little girl who was punched, and the other— the kid who died in police custody— is described as "blunt force" trauma or a "blow to the head" it didn't it say it was a punch and could have easily been a club weapon.

Posted by tkc on June 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
raku 28
I'm pretty sure watching your dad punch someone in the head to death is pretty traumatic, too. You know what have worked even better to save his daughter? Saying "what the fuck!! stop that" and calling the police.

He should lose custody of his daughter and get major prison time, but he won't, because rednecks live for any flimsy excuse for violence and murder (see: any hollywood movie).
Posted by raku on June 12, 2012 at 3:40 PM · Report this
long-time reader 29
@28, do you honestly think the average person would react to that scenario with anything other than a blind rage? I don't even have kids but if I were him I imagine I would also have beaten the molester without an iota of restraint.
Posted by long-time reader on June 12, 2012 at 5:09 PM · Report this

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