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Latino Daily News

Wednesday February 16, 2011

Arizona Anti-Immigrant Vigilante Convicted of Murdering Hispanic Family

Arizona Anti-Immigrant Vigilante Convicted of Murdering Hispanic Family

Photo: Shawna Ford

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An Arizona anti-immigrant vigilante has been convicted of murder and attempted robbery, and is now facing life in prison or even the death penalty.

A Tucson jury has found Shawna Forde, the leader of anti-immigrant group Minutemen American Defense, guilty of murdering a father and his 9-year-old daughter in cold blood, and wounding the mother.

On May 30th, 2009, Raul Flores, his wife Gina Gonzalez, and their daughter Brisenia were accosted by Forde and two accomplices in their Aravica home after Forde, 43, and the others knocked on the door pretending to be police officers. When Flores questioned their identity, one of the accomplices shot him several times then shot Gonzalez, who said she survived by pretending to be dead. It was after shooting the parents that the gunman turned his attention to Brisenia and, in cold blood, shot her twice in the head. While the victims were on the floor bloody and dying, the group went through the home looking for money and valuables.

The three attackers left, but returned while Gonzalez was on the phone with emergency dispatchers. She had gotten her husband’s gun and she can be heard screaming and shooting on the call’s recording.

The alleged gunman is Jason Bush and is said to have ties to the white supremacist network Aryan Nations. He goes on trial in March, and the second of Forde’s accomplices, Albert Gaxiola, will go on trial in April.

Prosecutors are looking for the death penalty for Forde. Such a sentence would require a unanimous decision from the jurors, but the prosecutors will point out that the murders were done for money, and the youngest victim was only nine-years-old.

Luckily, Flores’ other daughter was spared, as she was at her grandmother’s house that night.