The barber waited until nobody else was in the shop.
  • The barber waited until nobody else was in the shop.
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Tim Vaughn had a lot on his mind last October when he sat down in the barber's chair at Vic's Barber Shop in Imperial Beach.

Vaughn, 33, is a U.S. Navy petty officer who worked as a medic. He was up for a promotion to chief after 16 years in the service. His wife was ten weeks pregnant and he was looking forward to being the shoulder she could lean on for the baby they were excited about.

Vaughn didn't know the barber, Daniel Roberto Flores, who was the only other person in the shop. When Flores insisted on trimming Vaughn's beard with a straight razor, the Navy man cooperated and tipped his head back. That's when Flores said: “I could cut your throat.” And then Flores did — leaving two slashes across Vaughn's throat. Then Flores left the shop and rode away on his bicycle.

"I felt this incredible pain,” said Vaughn in court on Thursday (June 11). “There was so much blood. 'Where is everyone?' I put pressure on it. It hurt so much. I felt this huge hole. 'Somebody help me.' There's blood all over my shirt, all over the floor. 'Somebody please help me.' I guess my training kicked in."

Though he lost a lot of blood, Vaughn knew to position himself so blood would continue to go to his heart and his brain, and to make himself stay conscious. Police said he saved his own life.

Vaughn came to court for Flores's sentencing on the attempted murder charge the 22-year-old pled guilty to. Vaughn wore his neatly pressed Navy uniform — as did nearly a dozen of his colleagues who came to support him.

"There would be more but our ship deployed," an officer said.

Vaughn described himself as undeployable and talked about how he fears for the loss of his career. After the attack, he didn't get the promotion to chief. He has spent the past seven months learning to turn his head and waiting for the feeling in his neck to return, he told the judge.

After hundreds of hours of physical therapy, surgical repairs, and psychiatric help, he remains undeployable. In today's Navy, that's a career-ender.

"My heart [hurts] most for my family because they are the true victims," Vaughn said. "I survived a gruesome, heinous attack.... Instead of being a shoulder for my wife to lean on, I get to go home and have my family babysit me, wash me and feed me and deal with my — my pain, anxiety, nightmares, sleepless nights."

Throughout the recounting, Flores appeared bored. No one knows why he nearly killed Vaughn. Police said they had no prior relationship and there wasn't an argument.

Judge Garry Haehnle noted that both psychiatrists who examined Flores found "hints of mental illness" but nothing acute and nothing that would have triggered such an attack.

"He had no audio or visual hallucinations, no self-defense issues," Haehnle said. "He just doesn't remember."

Flores didn't speak — his attorney explained that Flores "was going through some difficult times with psychiatric issues…. He is extremely remorseful and sorry for what he did."

But Vaughn's mom, Kathleen Dye, wasn't buying it.

"My son looks in the mirror every single day and he sees a scar from ear to ear," Dye said. "For what reason? We still don't know."

Although the probation report recommended a sentence of eight years because Flores has no prior convictions, Judge Haehnle went for the maximum of ten years — which brought sobs from Flores’s wife, who was there with his mother and three siblings.

"Mr. Vaughn trusted this man to do what a barber would do," Haehnle said. "I know Mr. Vaughn suffered tremendously and still suffers to this day."

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Comments

AlexClarke June 12, 2015 @ 6:16 a.m.

10 years? Is that all? He will be out in 4 years. I guess we will have to wait until he kills again to get him in prison longer.

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Visduh June 13, 2015 @ 9:25 a.m.

I've always thought that attempted murder carried the same penalty, i.e. sentence, as a successful "offing." This case was obviously premeditated, and it should have resulted in a conviction of attempted first-degree murder. That offense has a sentence of 25 years to life. And there are many in our prisons who have served the 25 years, yet still languish there because the board has declined to release them.

I don't understand what's different here. Perhaps Marty can elaborate.

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william50 June 15, 2015 @ 9:50 p.m.

When any crime is charged as "attempted" the penalty is half the normal penalty.

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shirleyberan June 12, 2015 @ 12:39 p.m.

Are you sure the guy with a straight-razor had a license? Sounds like he was imitating Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd". Could be random sick guy on drugs. Never would be happy about someone anxious to use a straight edge near the neck. So Creepy.

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joepeh June 12, 2015 @ 2:17 p.m.

Cheers and prayers to Petty Officer Vaughn.

I am reminded of the haircut I received in about 1949 in Tokyo from a Japanese barber. I had asked him what he did during the recent war. As he was trimming my sideburns and around my ears he related that he had been a soldier in Burma. He described how he fought in the jungle. He described how he attacked the enemy (the British, I suppose) with his sword. At that point, for emphasis, he brought his straight razor down in front of my face in a slashing motion! He chuckled...... I went to men's room and cleaned my pants. However, I did continue to visit his shop for the next five years....... without untoward incident.

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eastlaker June 13, 2015 @ 10:34 a.m.

I would be interested in knowing how Daniel Flores was hired, where he was trained, and how long he had been working at that particular barber shop. It would be very surprising if this incident was his first expression of violence. History is important.

If Flores was being given a chance out of the kindness of the shop owner's heart, and then had a psychotic break which was part of his medical history, then I would say, at the very least, he should have been supervised at all times.

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ImJustABill June 15, 2015 @ 10:09 p.m.

He should be locked up for life - either in prison or in a mental health facility. There is no way he could ever be considered safe in the general public.

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