The jury found Forde guilty of two counts of murder in the first degree in the killings of 9 year old Brisenia Flores and her father Raul Junior Flores. Forde was also found guilty of attempting to murder Gina Gozalez, Raul’s wife and Brisenia’s mother.
Forde faces possible execution for her crimes as the trial enters its penalty phase.
Two others accused in the crime are expected to be put on trial within a month.
Shawna Forde was an early activist in the Minuteman movement, originally joining the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps organized by Chris Simcox.
After leaving that organization, she became a key ally of Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minuteman Project. Gilchrist is a frequent guest on Fox News and made national headlines when he endorsed Mike Huckabee for President in 2007. Gilchrist spoke at a rally organized by Forde and the Minuteman Project tried to recruit members of his own organization to work with Forde on the operations in Arizona that led to the two killings.
Forde’s own group, Minuteman American Defense, included both long-time Minutemen, and an assortment of radical white supremacists, including her fellow defendant Jason Bush. Bush is accused of killing several other people in previous political violence. She also recruited some individuals involved in the Arizona drug trade to provide intelligence and assist in home invasions.
In the months before the murders, Forde became involved in the tea party movement.
After the killings Forde stayed in southern Arizona planning more violent operations. She visited with a number of anti-immigrant activists during this two week period, although all of them deny that she told them about the killings.
Forde was captured by the FBI leaving the compound of the American Patrol, a decade-old “border protection” group which is considered a predecessor of the Minutemen. She had lived at the compound for several months in the past and met with the leader of the group on the day she was arrested.
Immediately after her capture, many anti-immigrant groups scrubbed their websites of references to her. A number of groups, including Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project, had up recruitment information for Forde’s organization or laudatory reports on her work on their sites at the time.
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