From David Neiwert at Crooks & Liars:
The jury in Shawna Forde’s trial for the murders of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul, spent nine hours deliberating the case before delivering its verdict today in Pima County Superior Court, and it was clear there was little doubt in their minds: Forde was found guilty of all eight counts in the case, including two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder for the shooting of Brisenia’s mother, and an assortment of burglary, robbery and aggravated assault charges.
I was there to observe. The jury’s verdict came in relatively short time this morning in Tucson, and it was an efficient affair: Forde, wearing a light plaid suit jacket and pants, entered with her attorneys, looking confident and smiling. The jury then filed in, and delivered their verdicts to the judge. The court clerk then read them aloud, along with the jury’s findings: guilty, guilty, guilty, with no doubts at all about any of the qualifying issues.
Strangely, Forde was almost perfectly emotionless: She looked straight ahead, chatted with her attorneys, and even smiled occasionally. Indeed, she continued to exude the bravado that has been her style from the outset — even as she was led back out of the courtroom to her awaiting prison cell.
There were plenty of emotions flowing, though — much of it directly in front of me. As the verdicts were announced, Brisenia’s mother, Gina Gonzalez — who not only survived the shootings, but delivered damning testimony in the trial — began weeping softly, as did her sister and mother, who accompanied her.
Now the trial heads to the penalty phase, with a hearing tomorrow to discuss mitigating factors in the sentencing, which will be followed by deliberations to determine whether or not she ends up on Arizona’s death row. (Arizona currently has only one other woman facing the death penalty — Wendi Andriano, convicted in 2004 of murdering her husband. (Arizona’s preferred method of execution is by lethal injection.)
Forde was a founder of the Arizona Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, now disbanded. Pretending to be law enforcement, she and an accomplice invaded the Flores home in 2009 and destroyed this family forever. According to other Minutemen, her plan was to engage in robberies to finance a more militant group, “a paramilitary organization that would seal off the border to immigrants.”