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Shawna Forde, an anti-immigration extremist, was sentenced to death for killing a 9-year old girl and her father in an Arizona courtroom. Shawna Forde was a member of the Minutemen, a group which patrols the southern border vigilante-style to detect illegal entry into the country.
On the day of the murder, Forde and two accomplices entered a home belonging to the Flores family, allegedly looking for a million-dollar drug stash in order to fund the Minutemen. No drugs were found and Forde only made off with Gonzalez’s wedding ring and a few of the family’s other possessions. During the raid, the minutemen shot Raul Flores and Gina Gonzales. While Gonzales lay on the floor, pretending to be dead, Brisenia Flores, their nine-year old daughter, said, “Please don’t shoot me,” before being shot twice in the head.
Forde’s alleged accomplices, Albert Robert Gaxiola and Jason Eugene Bush, still await trial.
The Daily Beast’s Terry Greene Sterling talked to Shawna Forde in jail, who still believes she is innocent. “I know in her mind,” Forde said of Gonzalez, “I am guilty and she hates me. I know her tragedy is extremely sad.” But on the other hand, she said “people shouldn’t deal drugs if they have kids.” (No drugs were found in the trailer.) Forde said in the interview that she “lost a daughter” and she knows from experience Gonzalez will feel pain “the rest of her life” and her “tragedy is extremely sad.” “I wish I could say I was sorry it happened,” Forde said. “I am not sorry on my behalf because I didn’t do it.”
Forde wanted to testify on her behalf but her attorneys convinced her otherwise. She has a long history of ties to right-wing nativist groups like the tea party and the Federation for American Immigration Reform. All have since tried to distance themselves from her. Despite her history with anti-immigration groups, the crime was not designated a hate crime. Immigration advocates pointed out the connection between Forde’s radical beliefs and her crime. Presente.org, a Latino activism group encouraged the media “to be socially responsible by reporting the linkages between Forde’s proven extremism and that of extremist groups she represents.”