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Fired former ‘Minuteman’ convicted in Arizona double murder

Shawna Forde, a rogue ex-minuteman border activist from Everett, Washington was convicted Monday of first degree murder for the double homicide of a suspected Mexican drug dealer, Raul Flores and his 9-year old daughter, Brisenia Flores in a home invasion that went terribly wrong.

The murders took place in May 2009 in the small border town of Arivaca, Arizona. The jury learned Forde had formed a criminal gang a few weeks earlier made up of several other criminals, radicals and local drug dealers to plan and execute a series of robberies of known-drug traffickers on the U.S. side of the border.

Gina Gonzales, the murder victim’s wife and mother gave the court her victim impact statement on Tuesday. She detailed for the court how she remembered that fateful day.

Gonzales described what she heard while she was on her living room floor. She explained that her husband was immediately shot as he answered the door and that she could hear her daughter answering questions about the rest of the family. The perpetrators told the little girl she would be okay. They lied.

Moments later 9-year-old, Brisenia, was shot at close range. “I miss my husband, I miss my daughter, I miss my family, I miss my life…and that’s all because of a choice she (Forde) made,” Gonzales said in court.

The jury ruled on Tuesday that Forde is eligible for the death penalty.

Looking back

While illegal alien activists were quick to condemn the entire Minuteman border- watch movement because Forde was briefly a Minuteman member five years ago, the facts illustrate the real Minuteman and border security groups throughout the U.S. have a 6-year record of peaceful and law-abiding activism, including rescues and administering first aid to injured and distressed illegal aliens near the border.

In fact, the now-defunct national group Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) based in Arizona, expelled Forde from their group in 2007 after she was caught misrepresenting herself as a leader in the group and partaking in other questionable activities.

In a statement released on Monday after the guilty verdict, former MCDC media relations director Dave Bertrand confirmed that “Forde’s membership in MCDC was revoked in February 2007 and that she was warned to stay away from all MCDC border operations.”

Once Forde was kicked out of MCDC, the other mainstream border security groups refused to work with her and even warned other activists about her increasing erratic behavior and radical public statements.

Despite her tiny following, Forde continued to camp near the Arizona border where she posted constant Internet updates about the “invasion” of Mexican drug smugglers and her alleged run-ins with them.

Chelene Nightingale, coordinator for the SoCal Patriot Coalition and former California gubernatorial candidate, also tracked Forde before the murders and warned her members to stay clear of Forde. “The American Patriot and secure borders movement has always and will always strongly police their own groups to weed out any radicals, criminals, and mentally unstable individuals who try to join or infiltrate law-abiding political activist groups. Our message to Washington nearly six years ago when this movement started was simple, the American people just want our dangerous southern border with Mexico secured and our laws enforced equally,” Nighingale said.

From bad to worse….

Forde’s shenanigans finally caught up with her in December 2008, when someone tried to kill her estranged husband, in Everett, WA after she returned from a border operation. He was shot several times at close range in his home by unknown assassins, but miraculously survived.

Forde claimed she had nothing to do with the assault; however their divorce was only a few weeks away from being finalized. She even posted on her website that Mexican drug cartels were responsible for the attempted hit.

However, Forde was never interviewed by the Everett Police, despite several requests made by the department. She eventually left town without being questioned about the attempted murder of her husband. According to reporter Scott North at the Everett Herald, who has been following Forde’s activities for years, “Court papers showed that Shawna Forde has from the outset been suspected of somehow being involved in her (husbands’) attack.”

Immediately after her husband had been shot, Forde claimed that MS-13 gang members were targeting her family and behind the attempted murder of her husband. However, many border advocates were suspicious of her claims which prompted Forde to then claim a week later that MS-13 gang members had broken into her home, beaten, raped and sodomized her.

Shortly after she spoke about the MS-13 gang attack, Forde posted numerous pictures of herself on her website. Many were semi-nude showing dark bruises and possible scrapes on various parts of her body.

However, Everett Police were unable find any evidence of her claims and determined that she had most likely made up the whole story.

Once news broke about the attempted murder of Forde’s husband and the alleged attack on Forde, several prominent Minuteman leaders began to suspect Forde was in serious trouble in Everett, WA.

Founder of the San Diego Minutemen, Jeff Schwilk, suspected Forde’s story was unraveling quickly and said she was trying to garner sympathy by making-up attacks by Mexican gang members.

In early 2009, Forde also claimed she was shot in a dark alley. However, according to the Everett Police Department there was never any evidence to back-up her claim. Then, in mid-January 2009, two weeks after she claimed she was raped, Forde was shot in her arm in a dark alley and claimed unknown assailants drove up and shot her. Again Everett Police found no evidence of an attack and believe Forde may have staged the shooting.

Schwilk said, “After that third alleged violent incident most leaders in the border security movement concluded Forde was staging these alleged attacks in an effort to convince people that the Mexican drug cartels were now targeting border activists.” Forde used these incidents to recruit border watchers for her planned border mission in Arizona in the spring.

It would be April 2009 when Forde would migrate back to southern Arizona and resume her “border operations.”

Forde was forced to recruit for her new crew using her Internet network of criminals and known drug-trade peddlers. Under Forde’s direction, her newly-formed group began plotting home invasions to fund their future border operations.

Raul Flores, the murder victim, was believed to be Forde’s first foray into the robbery business, but it turned deadly and ultimately led to her downfall. Forde and her two accomplices were arrested within two weeks of the murders. Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola are expected to begin their murder trials in March and June respectively. Neither of these men had any Minuteman involvement.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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