Tuesday was Hector Anthony Flores Jr.’s 29th birthday. It also was the day he learned he would spend his next 18 birthdays in state prison.
Flores in March pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Sept. 24, 2017, stabbing death of his father, Hector.
According to testimony in the case, the two spent the day drinking and gambling in Charles Town, WV, and got into an argument after returning to their Leesburg home. Their pushing and shoving scuffle escalated into a fist fight. Then Anthony Flores grabbed a knife from a holder on the kitchen countertop and stabbed his father. As his father ran to a neighbor’s house to get help, Anthony stabbed him again, three times in his back. He left the knife in his father’s back as he left to drive to the Leesburg Police station to report the attack, initially claiming he acted in self-defense.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in Loudoun County Circuit Court, county prosecutors argued that the tragic event could have easily been avoided had Anthony walked away and that his father might still be alive if Anthony had called for an ambulance instead of chasing his father from the house and continuing the stabbing.
His defense attorneys argued that fatal conflict was the end of a life-long string of abuses suffered at the hands of his father. From the witness stand during the five-hour hearing, Anthony detailed incidents of abuse by his father to him, his sister, step-sister and step-mother. The abuse happened when his father was drunk, which he said was often.
After graduating high school, Anthony joined the Army National Guard and served in Bahrain in 2013 and was stationed in Danbury, CT. He occasionally would visit his father to develop a relationship with him. While they would “drink and have fun,” Anthony said it was only sustainable for a weekend at a time because of the arguments they got into.
In February 2017, Flores moved back in with his father. Their relationship went well for the first few months until they started drinking “way too heavily” and the situation “became real bad,” Anthony said. A month before the stabbing, the two were charged in Virginia Beach with being drunk in public after a police officer saw his father hitting Flores in the face in their parked car.
When asked about the day of the murder, Flores said that he and his father started drinking from the moment they woke up and that the day was off to “a rocky start” filled with arguments “over small things.”
“It seemed like he was ticked off at anything I did,” he said.
Their neighbor drove them to Charles Town for a day of drinking and gambling.
When they returned to their Wythe Court home later that night their tension exploded. Flores said that they were both extremely drunk and that his father was harassing him for living at home and not having a girlfriend at the age of 27. Flores said he responded by saying how terrible of a father he was.
Flores said that his father then hit him twice before he grabbed a knife from the counter about 5 feet away and stabbed him. According to police reports, Flores stabbed him at least twice in the chest and once on the side. He said that after that, he went black. “Everything was happening so quickly,” he said.
According to police reports, Flores’ father then shoved him to the floor and tried to run out of the house, at which point Flores chased him and stabbed him three times in the back at his neighbor’s front door—the same neighbor who drove them to Charles Town earlier that day.
Flores said it was after that when he realized what he did and drove to the Leesburg Police headquarters on Plaza Street to turn himself in.
“I knew that I had done something so terrible, so unthinkable, I knew I had to turn myself in,” he said. “It’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life.”
At least five hours later, police sampled Flores blood and found that he had a blood alcohol content of .15.
Flores said that it was the “hurt, rage [and] anger” from a lifetime of abuse to him and his sisters that affected how he reacted to his father’s taunts.
The public defender representing Flores urged Judge Jeanette A. Irby to consider the abuses suffered by Flores when deciding his sentence. “He is someone who tried to protect other people. That’s who Anthony is. He is a good person,” he said. “It was not lawful and it was not right, but it was very, very human.”
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Steward decried the defense team’s focus on the families’ past troubles, efforts to disparage the victim or to suggest that he deserved to be killed.
Irby agreed, saying the Flores’ childhood had less bearing on his violent, brutal actions, than his tendencies to become aggressive when drinking—a trait apparently inherited from his father.
Flores was sentenced to 18 years in prison, plus three years of post-release supervision. He also was required to pay $5,000 in restitution to the family.