crimesider

Shawna Forde Update: Ariz. Border Activist Guilty of Double Murder

In this photo provided June 12, 2009 by Pima County Sheriff's Department, shows Shawna Forde, 41, one of three suspects arrested in connection with a fatal home invasion that left a father and daughter dead. Forde is one of three people charged with two counts of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz. Brisenia Flores, 9, and her father, Raul Junior Flores, 29, were killed. (AP Photo/Pima County Sheriff's Department)
AP Photo/Pima County Sheriff
Shawna Forde Update: Ariz. Border Activist Guilty of Double Murder
Shawna Forde (AP/Pima County Sheriff's Office)

(CBS/AP/KOLD) Shawna Forde, the border activist and leader of an anti-illegal immigrant group, was found guilty on all charges by a Tucson jury in a home invasion that left a 9-year-old girl and her father dead.

Prosecutors said Forde led a May 2009 home invasion in Aravica, a desert community about 10 miles north of Mexico,  that killed 29-year old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia, reports CBS affiliate KOLD.

Forde and two accomplices broke into the Flores home, claiming to be police officers who were looking for fugitives. When Flores questioned their story, prosecutors said the men opened fire, killing Flores and his young child.

The girl's mother, Gina Gonzalez, called 911 after witnessing the crime. While she was on the phone, prosecutors said the suspects returned to finish her off.

Several gunshots can be heard in the 911 call as Gonzalez pleads with dispatchers to get her help.

The 42-year-old Forde had pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and other charges stemming from the home invasion.

Court supervisor Cheryl Thompson said the jury will return Tuesday to begin the penalty phase.

In closing arguments last week, prosecutor Rick Unklesbay argued that phone calls and text messages sent by Forde clearly show she was responsible, while defense attorney Eric Larsen said they proved she had nothing to hide and should be found not guilty.

Forde is the leader of the Minutemen American Defense, a small border watch group, and prosecutors contend that she planned the attack to help fund her anti-immigrant operations.

Flores was believed to be involved with drug trafficking, police say, but officers don't think the assailants found much cash or drugs in the home.

Forde sat quietly in court Thursday, but smiled and joked with others during a break.

Before coming to Arizona, Forde lived in Everett, Wash., where she ran for the city council in 2007, promising to allow police to check the immigration status of suspects, according to local news accounts.

Chris Simcox, founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, previously told The Associated Press that his group kicked Forde out in 2007 amid allegations of lying and pretending to be a senior leader, and that Forde began her own group, bragging that it would be going after drug cartels. That claim made him worry about the safety of other Minutemen, he said.

"We knew that Shawna Forde was not just an unsavory character but pretty unbalanced, as well," Simcox said.