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Forde may try to play execution sentence for martyrdom

Everett woman sentenced to die, but acquaintance says she's unlikely to keep quiet for long

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By Scott North
Herald Writer
An Everett woman reportedly showed no reaction Tuesday when a jury announced she should die by lethal injection for orchestrating two murders in Arizona.
But those who know Shawna Forde doubt she'll be quiet for long about being convicted and sentenced to die for the May 2009 killings of Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia.
Forde, 43, likely will try to spin the verdict to convince others that she is being martyred for her unpopular political views, says a man she tried to recruit into a leadership position in her Minuteman group.
Mike Carlucci is a Seattle-area private investigator who Forde once claimed acted as her legal muscle and personal detective. That was a lie, said Carlucci, who said he pegged her for a criminal and a con artist, and kept records of his suspicions.
After her arrest for the murders in Arizona, Carlucci supplied The Herald with dozens of e-mails and other correspondence that documented Forde's interlocking scams and years-long involvement in the Minuteman movement.
Forde probably wasn't happy to be sentenced to die, but she'll likely spend the next several years claiming it is proof that she's being targeted by forces opposed to her views, Carlucci said.
Forde herself knows that isn't true, he said, but "in her delusional scheme of things this is going to be some sort of a twisted moral victory, and fit in real well with her idea of conspiracy," he said.
Carlucci said Forde repeatedly tried to recruit him to join her Minutemen American Defense group and join her in Arizona.
He believes she wanted him to assume a role in her organization that ultimately went to Jason Bush, who once lived in Wenatchee. He's an ex-convict and con man who convinced Forde and others he was a special forces warrior.
Bush is scheduled to go on trial next month in Tucson. Prosecutors say he's the person who shot the Flores family at Forde's direction.
Robert Copley, known in Minuteman circles as Warbird, was one of two Colorado men who testified at Forde's trial about her attempt to recruit them for armed operations, including robberies of people trafficking in drugs and weapons.
Copley and the other man took their concerns about Forde to federal agents, but the feds were not interested until after the fatal Arivaca raid, jurors were told. That troubles Copley because Forde at one point gave him a sketch of the town of Arivaca. He passed it along to federal agents, who testified they later destroyed the drawing.
Forde stayed in contact with Copley after the Arizona killings. Among other things, she sent him a list of 17 people she wanted contacted in the event of her arrest, or worse.
Forde had no idea that Copley, a bounty hunter and bail bondsman, was working with federal agents trying to track her down.
He said the verdict and death sentence are appropriate.
"She earned every bit of it," he said. "She engineered the invasion. She was the boss. She may just as well have pulled the trigger."
Forde's mother, Rena Caudle of California, said she was shaking and wept Tuesday when she got news that her daughter had been sentenced to die.
The thought running through her head, over and over, was a question only Forde could answer, she said:
"Why? Why? Why? Why?"
Caudle said she's convinced the world is safer with her daughter behind bars.
"She made her choice, and she has to live with it, and that has to be hard," she said.
Irma DeWaters of Everett has been following Forde's case from the start. She knew Forde, and allowed her to live in her home when the defendant was in her teens. She read with amazement how Forde's young life was characterized in the courtroom in Tucson.
"I found many fabrications that made Shawna sound like a helpless child that nobody cared for," she said. "The truth of the matter is that Shawna ran away from anyone that showed her any love and she ran away even faster from rules."
Forde's attorneys spent much of last week presenting testimony about a childhood marred by abandonment, abuse and street crime.
Jurors were not told about the crimes that first brought Forde national attention two years ago while she was still living in Everett. They include Forde's claim -- since discounted by police -- that she was raped and later shot by drug cartel members in retribution for her Minuteman activism in Arizona.
Police in Everett continue to investigate the Dec. 22, 2008, attack on her ex-husband, who was nearly killed after a gunman ambushed him at his home in Everett. The Fordes were then divorcing, and she was suspected of being somehow involved in the attack, court papers show.
Story tags » Home Invasion RobberyHomicideImmigration

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