Shawna Forde, the vigilante anti-immigration crusader affiliated with the Minutemen group, was found guilty today of two counts of first degree murder in the 2009 killing of Raul Flores and his nine-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, the Arizona Daily Star is reporting. Forde was also convicted of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Gina Gonzalez, Brisenia’s mother, in addition to aggravated assault and robbery counts. The jury will now decide whether Forde will face the death penalty.
Forde, a controversial (and disputed) member of the Minutemen, hoped to rob the Flores family of drug money in order to fund her border patrol operation, according to the prosecution. When she failed to find the cash, Forde and her two associates shot all three residents of the home, including the nine-year-old girl, who allegedly pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me!”
The brutal murders gained some national media coverage, albeit slowly, though many worked to bring attention to the crime, which some believe can be tied directly to increasingly violent anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.
The Latino issues awareness group Presente.org including the following explanation in a press release about the importance of the verdict:
Though we received a verdict that condemned these atrocious murders, we also recognize that the Brisenia Flores’ case is not the isolated incident that some media reports make it out to be. Rather, it has galvanized the attention of the entire Latino community across the country as it reflects the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino hatred organized by extremist groups. Latinos – the fastest-growing and largest ethnic minority group in the U.S. – understand and experience the phenomenon of hatred that has rapidly expanded in the nation. In fact, Latinos are closely watching media outlets that provide a platform for hatred promoted by extremist groups like MAD and the Federation for American Immigration Reform – a group Forde represented on a PBS show, for instance. Latinos are closely watching those media outlets that irresponsibly allow hateful groups attack to Latinos and immigrants, fanning the flames of fear and violence in our communities.
For more about the trial, read the rest of Runnin’ Scared’s coverage, based mostly around the media reaction or lack thereof:
And for more on today’s verdict: Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter [ADS]