Shawna Forde’s death sentence upheld

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court on Friday unanimously upheld the murder convictions and death sentences of a former border-watch activist and former Everett resident for the killings of a man and his 9-year-old daughter during a May 2009 home invasion.

Shawna Forde was convicted in 2011 of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of 29-year-old Raul Flores and Brisenia Flores at their home in Arivaca in southern Arizona.

Forde had planned the invasion and robbery of the Flores home, where she believed contained drugs, weapons and money were stashed, authorities said. The Supreme Court’s ruling said Raul Flores was a reputed drug dealer.

Forde intended to use the proceeds of the home invasion to fund a border-watch group, prosecutors said.

Besides the death sentences, Forde also received various prison terms on other convictions, including one for the attempted first-degree murder of Flores’ wife, Gina. She had played dead when she was shot.

In reviewing Forde’s death sentences, the Supreme Court said there was substantial evidence that she was a major participant in the home invasion “and acted with reckless indifference for the murder victims’ lives,” though she didn’t kill them herself.

The home invasion began with armed men barging into the victims’ home and threatening violence, the court noted.

After one of the intruders shot Raul Flores and wounded his wife, Forde did nothing to stop the triggerman from then killing the girl, Justice Ann Scott Timmer wrote for the court. “Instead, Forde left the child with armed men and went to search the bedroom.”

It was disclosed in 2010 that shortly before the crimes occurred, Forde during a meeting in Colorado had told militia members who included FBI informants that she planned to rob the Flores residence.

The informants told the FBI about Forde’s statements after the informants learned of the killings, and police arrested Forde in June 2009. When arrested, Forde had some of Gina Flores’ jewelry in her purse.

Forde is at the state’s Perryville prison, where female inmates are held.

Jason Bush, the intruder who shot the Flores family members, also was sentenced to death in the case. He is on death row at a state prison in Florence.

Another man, Albert Gaxiola, 45, is serving life prison terms on his murder convictions in the case.

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