Saturday, July 30, 2016

Shawna Forde: Guilty or Innocent? Part II of II.

Shawna Forde had been sitting on Perryville's death row for almost two years when Jodi Arias became her vent mate.   Jodi's reputation had proceeded her;  it was common knowledge the trial of the soft-spoken young woman had drew the attention of a large amount of people across the US. Anything Arias related would gather the same attention.  The media had monopolized on the popularity of Jodi's case, and the newfound housing situation presented Shawna Forde with the opportunity to do the same.


Shawna Forde  was not a stranger to the media and knew how to work it to her benefit.  Prior to her arrest,  she reveled in media attention and even took steps to draw them to her.  In 2006 she volunteered to appear on a talk show on public TV after falsely identifying herself as a member of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) and an approved speaker for the Minutemen. The unapproved appearance resulted in an attempt to fire her from the Minutemen organization.  On the day after her alleged rape,  she was the one to take it to the media even before she gave a statement to the police.   And,  when the media did not proceed hastily enough,  she posted it on her own site.    Earlier in 2008,  she sought money from a friend to make a documentary featuring her group's Border activities; the money was given but the documentary fell through.   She tried again later in 2008 and into 2009.  She participated with two documentary crews:  Belgian Filmmaker Sebastian Wielemans and a Norwegian group. Wherever there was media presence at any event related to the Minutemen movement and Shawna was there, she did her best to find her way in front of the camera.

After her arrest,  Shawna's love for the media turned sour.   She and her supporters blamed the media for the reputation she had gained and implied they inappropriately villainized her.  She tried to change the venue from Tucson because of the media coverage in the area.  She lost because it was determined that the coverage was limited, was 18 months earlier, factual,  and did not show prejudice. In her appeal, Shawna tried claim the publicity surrounding her case caused unfair prejudice.   She lost her media claim once again.

"The publicity surrounding this case was not so pervasive and prejudicial that the court should have presumed prejudice. Most of the publicity occurred in the immediate aftermath of the crimes—approximately eighteen months before trial. Moreover, most news accounts were essentially factual. We have held that the trial court properly refused to presume prejudice under similar circumstances"

There was a lack of support for Shawna during her trial that she blamed on the media as well.  She claimed she forbade her children from attending because of the media's presence.  She also claimed that her happy adoptive family would have been at her side but the media attention made it impossible.  Lastly,  Shawna claimed she had a large gathering of supporters nationwide who were too afraid to show up for fear of the media attention.  Yet,  the Arias trial was the circus Shawna's was not and her family, friends, and a few supporters showed up to support her.

Shawna's trial was not the media frenzy she implied it to be. It never rose to the level of the nationwide interest that Jodi Arias' trial commanded.  Besides CNN,  the only media outlets interested in her case as it progressed were found in Pima county and her home town of  Everett, Washington.  Her case never drew national attention until she was convicted.  And, when it did, the national media spotlight went out as soon as it came;  they were gone,  lickety-split.


Forde's case never gained the media spotlight that Jodi Arias' did.  When Jodi Arias became Forde's vent mate, it gave her the opportunity to access the large population of the trial watchers following Jodi Arias' case.   Forde took the opportunity to draw attention to herself by dropping little tid-bits of Jodi's life in prison with hints that there was more to come and delivered the information through her supporters.   At the same time,  she and her supporters used the opportunity to introduce her self-described plight.

Some of the trial watchers did become interested in Forde's case,  so they asked.   What was presented to them was a  very small portion of the case that, without further investigation, would make it appear that Shawna Forde was wrongfully convicted.   The pertinent details that supported the conviction and diminished any reasonable doubt were left out.   Trial watchers were discouraged from seeking other information via a claim that the transcripts from the case were locked down tighter than an Amish Charity belt.  And, it was only Forde, her attorneys,  and select supporters who were given the key.  

Despite claims that select Forde supporters were the only ones who had access to Shawna's transcripts, the superior court of Pima county has stated something else.   According to the court,  the transcripts of Forde's trial are available to any member of the public who is willing to go to the court record's office and pay the per-page fee to obtain them.  They've indicated that there are not any transcripts that are sealed.   The only sealed records associated with the case are FBI source files. And, these files were not available to any member of the public because there was not any reason or court order to share them.  The source file information used to convict her came in the form of Ron Wedow and Robert Copley's testimony.  The defense was given ample opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses and their testimony is included in the transcripts.

During the investigation of  Forde,   the prosecution had learned  the FBI had sources who held information that could benefit their case against her.   They requested a copy of those source files to use in their case.   The FBI provided the source files but imposed certain limitations that maintained compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974.

The Privacy Act of 1974 was enacted to protect the privacy of those individuals whom the federal government had collected information on.  It was designed to prevent this private information from falling into the hands of the public without consent of the individual.    Under the act,  the FBI could not release any of the source files to the public without a "written consent of the individual to whom the record pertained"  unless certain exceptions were in place. One exception allowed them to release the pertinent part of the source files to law enforcement agencies for investigation or litigation purposes with the restriction that they could not be publicly shared.

The FBI released the portions of their source files which included their sources' dealings with Shawna Forde.  The State was expected to protect the privacy of the individuals in the FBI records.  However, the source files were erroneously filed in the Pima county superior court and became temporarily accessible to the public. The documents were quickly pulled and the FBI refused to share further information with the Pima county prosecutor without a court order that imposed specific restrictions.

On December 15, 2010, just prior to the commencement of Shawna's case,  such an order was obtained:

In August 2009, the Pima County Attorney made a request via the Federal Code of
Federal Regulations upon the United States, specifically the FBI Phoenix Division, for
information and records which contained law enforcement sensitive information regarding the confidential sources

Within the confines of certain Privacy Act exceptions, the FBI
loaned the documents to Pima County pursuant to the request and with authorization from
the United States Attorney's Office, District of Arizona. As part of the loan, the FBI imposed
restrictions on the use of the documents to ensure the information would be utilized in a
manner consistent with the Privacy Act exceptions. Despite the agreed upon restrictions,
a party to the litigation filed FBI documents in Pima County Superior Court, making them
accessible to the public at large. Thereafter, the FBI has refused to stipulate to any further
disclosure of the information without a Privacy Act and Protective Order in place from the
United States District Court pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 522a(b)(11) that contains specific
limitations set forth below to protect privacy concerns as well as certain law enforcement
sensitive information

Government records that identify specific individuals or contain sensitive law
enforcement information, as determined by the United States, shall be marked “PRODUCED SUBJECT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER” or “SUBJECT TO PROTECTIVE ORDER” or contain a similar marking, and may be used only for purposes of the case of State v. Forde, et al., CR 2009-2300, In the Superior Court of the State of Arizona In and For the County of Pima. 

 Except as provided herein, no person having access to the records designated as subject to this Order or the information therein shall make public disclosure of those records or that information without further Order of this Court. Any such record filed within this matter must be filed under seal pursuant to paragraph 6. If a marked document is (other than the marking) identical to a previously disclosed unmarked document in this litigation, that document (either marked or unmarked) shall be subject to this order

The order was granted with the stipulation that the source files could not be shared with any member of the public unless it was pertinent to do so to either prosecute or defend Shawna Forde.  For the disclosure to be considered pertinent,  the receiving party had to necessary in offering professional services to the case or serve as an expert witness.

3. Except as otherwise ordered by this Court, any government record or item subject to
the Protective Order may be disclosed by counsel for Pima County only to the following
persons: (a) defense counsel representing defendants; (b) partners, associates, secretaries,
paralegal assistants, and employees of counsels of record to the extent reasonably necessary to render professional services in this cases; (c) persons retained by counsels of record to assist or serve as expert witnesses, provided that such disclosure is reasonably and in good faith calculated to aid in litigating this case

The sealed documents in Forde's case are the source files regarding Ron Wedow and Robert Copley.  The FBI source files involving their dealings with Forde that the State had received were disclosed to the defense long before Forde's trial commenced.   However,  Forde wanted more.  She demanded that all the FBI source files on the informants be released, including those that were not related to her case.   The motion was denied.  The State neither had the files nor had the right to access the files as they did not pertain to the case.

Forde tried again in her appeal, claimed a Brady violation,  and it was also denied:

F. Disclosure of FBI “Source Files”

¶ 40 Months before trial, Forde moved for disclosure of all FBI “source files” regarding R.W. and R.C., attendees at the Colorado minuteman meeting, including files unrelated to this case. The trial court denied Forde's motion, finding that the information was not within the State's control and directing Forde to make her request to the FBI. When the trial began, the State received previously requested FBI source files regarding this case and promptly disclosed them to the defense.

¶ 41 Forde argues that the trial court violated her rights to due process, to present a defense, and to confront witnesses by denying her motion. She contends that disclosure was required by Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 15.1 and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). But neither Rule 15.1 nor Brady requires the state to disclose evidence outside its possession or control. See Ariz. R.Crim. P. 15.1(b) (requiring the state to disclose material “within the prosecutor's possession or control”); State v. Briggs, 112 Ariz. 379, 383, 542 P.2d 804, 808 (1975) (“The prosecutor cannot be deemed to have concealed information relating to the guilt or innocence of the accused, or punishment if he does not procure materials in the custody of the FBI, an agency which is not under the control of the prosecutor.”).


The trial documents that supporters have regarding Forde's case are the same ones that anyone can obtain.  There was nothing within the trial which cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's evidence to result in a not guilty verdict.  The evidence in the case showed Forde was a woman  who was willing to execute a family for financial gain.  She used her status as a Minuteman to provide her an opportunity to create a crew who would be beneficial in eliminating her targets.    In the end,  the lives for Raul, Brisenia, and Gina did not matter to Forde;  they were only a means to an end in obtaining the money to feed her greed.   The only remorse Shawna had after her conviction was that for herself.

Forde's supporters had created stories of media bias to discourage the public from relying on any source that is readily available to them.  The media sources are online archived news articles from Pima County and Forde's home of Everett, Washington.  Some of the articles were written by journalist who attended the case every day as it progressed.  A veteran journalist,  Dave Ricker, was one of those writers who attended the trial everyday.  He provided a day-by-day report on his blog, Ricker's Radar Screen. Dave also wrote articles for the Green Valley News and those articles were picked up by papers such as The Herald of Everett, Washington.

Dave Ricker was not the only reporter attending the trial who reported his first-hand knowledge of the trial as it progressed.  David Neiwert, an investigative journalist,  had been working for the Nation Institute and was assigned to follow Forde's trial.  He wrote several articles detailing his experience with the trial and it was featured on his blog, Crooks and Liars as well as websites such as Alternet and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Neiwert also attended the trial of Albert Gaxiola  and midway through he decided to write his book,  "And Hell Followed With Her."   The murder of a 9-year old innocent child by a Minuteman was a story he believed needed to be told and it is one that should be read.   David used the information he acquired from attending both trials, including recordings of the testimony,  to help him ensure his book would be factual.  He gained assistance from Dave Ricker regarding details of Jason Bush's trial because he could not be there.  And, he conducted research to include interviews with witnesses and others linked to Forde or the case.  His book is an accurate representation of the case.  


Despite the large volume of evidence against Shawna Forde,  her supporters claim she is innocent and wrongfully convicted.  They have produced many reasons to support their claim reasonable doubt was present in the case.  Each theory can be easily discredited when evidence and reason are considered.
  1. CLAIM: Gina Gonzales' 911 description of the woman as "short and fat" does not match Shawna's. It could not have been her.
    • FACTS: 
    • "Short and Fat' is per Gina's perception;  not Shawna's supporter's.
    • At the time Gina called Shawna fat,  she was shot and had just seen her daughter die in front of her.  Her life was in danger and she was scared;  she was not worried about being politically correct.  
    •  At the time of the incident,  Shawna was only 5'3" tall.  When standing next to Bush, who was 6'4",  Shawna would look "Short."

      Shawna was overweight at the time.   A 2009 picture from a documentary shot just prior to the murders  shows that she could be considered "fat" by a woman who was in duress.
    • The day after the shooting,  when Gina was safe and her wounds treated, she described the woman as "heavyset" or "chubby."   The description is accurate.
  2. CLAIM: Gina Gonzales could not pick Shawna out of a line-up.
    • FACTS:
      Gina Gonzales was under extreme duress when she saw the woman who entered her home.   When she was shown the line-up,  she was able to eliminate three of the six women she was shown.  Shawna Forde was one of the three she was not able to eliminate.
    • In court,  Gina stated Shawna looked a lot like the woman intruder but admitted she was not able to give a positive ID.   The jury took it into consideration but other evidence convinced them it was Shawna at the scene.
      • testimony Shawna was planning the raid.
      • Bush's confession that Shawna was at the scene 
      • text history 
      • Shawna's admission to a witness that she was with Bush when he was shot but  she claimed it was three hours away from the scene.  Bush's blood that was discovered leading away from the crime scene showed the shooting occurred at the Flores' residence. 
      • The jewelry in Shawna's possession that was identified by the victim, Gina Gonzales, including a belt buckle with the letter "G."  
  3. CLAIM:  In court, Gina said Shawna's hair was brown.  Shawna was blonde so it was evidence that it wasn't her. 
    • FACTS
    • Gina did not provide a hair color until long after the shooting.  Her initial description fit Shawna. 
    • In court, Gina stated she thought it was brown but was not sure.  
    • Gina suggested that Shawna may have been wearing a wig at the time. 
    • Gina was under duress when she saw the woman intruder but she consistently stated that Shawna resembled the woman in her home. 
  4. CLAIM: There was not any "smoking gun"  to place Shawna at the scene.
    • FACTS: 
    • there rarely is the "smoking gun" evidence to tie criminals to a crime scene.  Their goal is to not get caught so they take steps to hide their presence.  For example,  Jodi Arias deleted pictures of herself and tried to destroy the camera to hide her presence in Mesa.
    • There was plenty of other evidence present to convince the jury of Forde's guilt that a "smoking gun" was not needed. 
    • A pearl handed revolver with DNA and a print on it was recovered from the Flores' property.   The DNA and print were a partial match to Shawna Forde's.  This information was shared during Albert Gaxiola's trial.   It was not used in Forde's trial because they were incomplete samples.   Prosecutors were concerned they would not have stood up to serious testing or left room for an appeal based on the samples causing unfair prejudice. They did not take the risk because of the strength of their case.  It's the same decision as to why Juan Martinez decided to not try to get the "whore letter" to Lisa Andrews admitted. 
  5. CLAIM: It was a government set-up because of Shawna's border activity
    • TRUTH: 
    • Shawna's group was only 15 members wide.   Organizations such as MMP and MCDC had more power.  
    • The goal of the Border control was to prevent human and drug trafficking into the US.  If Shawna was helping, what motive would they have to lock her up?
    • If the government wanted to discredit Shawna, then why did they not proceed with convicting her for the attempted murder of her estranged husband or share her criminal past? 
  6. CLAIM: There was not any of Jason Bush's blood found inside the home.  The blood that was found outside the home could have gotten there when he was chasing a border suspect.
    • FACT:
    • Jason's blood was found trailing from the home to the street.  It was fresh, placing him at the scene that evening.   At the same time,  Shawna claimed they were together 150 miles away from the crime scene doing border ops in Douglas, Arizona.  The blood did not get left there because they were chasing border jumpers 150 miles away;  it was left there because he was running from the crime scene after being shot.  Shawna lied. 
  7. CLAIM:
    It was Oin Oakstar and his girlfriend Sandy Stroup who were the real killers.
    • FACTS: 
    • Gina and Raul Flores knew Oakstar and Stroup.  The woman knocking on the door claimed she was border control.  If it was Stroup, there would not have been a need to introduce herself as Border ops because she would have been recognized.  The claim does not fit within reason.
    • Gina Flores stated that the woman was definitely not Sandy Stroup but could not identify who she was.  
    • Evidence shows Sandy Stroup was not with Forde's cell phone when it was used after the killing.
      • She was at home with her kids and had just took a shower when police showed up at her door.  The cell phone was used around the same time. 
  8. CLAIM: Gina was afraid of retaliation so she lied when she denied it being Stroup or Oakstar
    • FACT: 
    • The first time Gina denied knowing who the female intruder was,  was on the 911 call.  Her family was killed and she was left for dead.  She knew the intruders were willing to kill her.  They returned, tried again, and fled.  She said she was afraid they would still return.  Had it been Stroup,  there was not any logical explanation for her to lie in the moment.  The claim does not meet reasonable doubt.
    • Gina informed investigators that one of the intruders could have been Albert Gaxiola, a known drug dealer and associate of Oakstar.   She would not have done this if there was a fear of retaliation. The identification of Gaxiola would have risked leading back to Oakstar.  The claim does not meet reasonable doubt. 
  9. CLAIM: Forde's cell phone was stolen so she was not the one who was texting after the crime.
    • FACTS:
      The cell phone was found in her possession on June 12 when she was arrested.
    • The contexts of the texts matched the subject of calls witnesses said Forde made.
    • A personal text was sent to Forde's daughter the morning after the murder.
    • Forde was with Bush who used Forde's phone to send a text and identified himself when he did. 
    • Testimony of witnesses show Shawna's actions matched the texts from her phone.
  10. CLAIM: When Jason Bush confessed, it was a coerced confession and untrue. He was injured and medical help was withheld until he said what they wanted.
    • FACTS: 
    • Before Bush walked into the police station on his own, he had time to seek official medical treatment.  He did not because he was no longer in need.
    • When Bush was first injured, he received medical care to include dressing changes, antibiotics, and painkillers.  The treatment worked well enough to allow him to travel 1000 miles about a week later from Arivaca to Redding.
    • When Bush was taken to the hospital to check out his wound,  it was determined there was not any invasive treatment necessary.   He was soon sent back to jail. 
    • During his confession,  Bush shared details of the crime that were not public knowledge.
  11.  CLAIM:  As evidence of Bush's serious injury, it was stated the  hospital doctor wanted to surgically remove the bullet and do a skin graft to close up the wound.  However, some mdical guy from the jail said he didn't so he was released. 
    • FACT:
    • A skin graft would not generally be considered for a small bullet wound unless there was a large amount of tissue death related to infection that had failed to respond to antibiotics before it destroyed a large area of skin.    Skin grafts are used  for large burns, large wounds, or wounds were infection causes a large area of necrotic skin to form.   A person with such a wound would be very ill and not traveling a 1000 miles from Arivaca to Redding and another 400 miles back to Meadview.   
    • A hospital doctor who determines a patient is medically unstable for discharge can not be forced to release a patient back to prison if he determines that patient is in need of acute medical treatment such as surgery.   If he voluntarily does so,  he would be risking sanctions from the board of medicine if it was determined the patient was in need for emergency medical treatment and denied.
    • A federal law,  EMTLA,  prevents a doctor from knowingly discharging a patient in need of emergent medical care.  A person in need of emergent surgery and an infection so bad the doctor knew it would not heal without a skin graft even before treating the infection would be considered emergency medical care.  Such a person would be extremely ill and in severe pain.  Federal law would not allow the release of such a person without receiving emergency medical care.
  12. CLAIM: It was really Albert Gaxiola,  Jason Bush, and an unknown woman who committed the murders.  They set Forde up.
    • FACT:
       Jason Bush was on Forde's team, and her director of operations.  He only knew Gaxiola and Oakstar for just a couple of days before the murders occurred.  If he was willing to name Gaxiola and Oakstar in the crime,  why would he falsely blame Shawna instead of either Gaxiola's or Oakstar's girlfriend?  In the light of the relationships,  the claim is not a reasonable one.
    • Forde admitted via her mitigation claims that she was present.
  13.  CLAIM: The prosecutor's case was full of holes.
    • FACT: The evidence that supporters choose to ignore explain those holes.  And, they refuse to present any evidence to support the allegation of a weak case.  There has to be a reason for this and it is not because the transcripts are sealed.  The only sealed evidence was the FBI source files and no member of the general public has been given access to them. 
  14. CLAIM: The FBI destroyed a key piece of evidence, a map, that proved Shawna's innocence.
    • FACT:
    • A map was misfiled by the FBI with another case and when that case ended, the map was destroyed with it.
    • According to Shawna, the map would have shown she was planning on hitting a stash house and not a public residence.
      • this evidence was already presented via Robert Copley's testimony.  He stated Shawna claimed she wanted to hit a stash house. 
    • According to other evidence,  their were multiple targets in her plans:
      • Shawna was recorded telling an FBI informant that they already did two jobs and planned on more:  "we did two jobs without you..... hang low for now."
      • Texts received to Shawna's phone indicated that there were more jobs planned. Gaxiola to Forde:  "Intel on the next target"  
  15. CLAIM:  Forde's phone was stolen and someone else was sending the texts
    • FACT:  Forde had her phone
    • Testimony regarding the information in the phone calls Forde made matched the context of the text messages. 
    •  Testimony regarding the actions Forde took matched the context of the text messages.
    • Forde and Bush were the only ones present when Stonex arrived to treat his wound. 
    • Forde was coordinating the treatment of Bush's wound.
    • A personalized message including a pet name for her daughter was sent at 6 am, about 5 hours after the murders. 
    • The cell phone was in Forde's possession when she was arrested.
"But She's a Mom and she's not the type because...."
According to Forde's supporters,  Forde could not have murdered a child because she was a mom. They claim the woman the witness described was really Sandy Stroup,  the girlfriend of a man who was supposed to be involved in the heist.   However, like Forde,  Stroup had children of her own. By Shawna's supporter status,  being a mom would have ruled her out as a suspect.

Forde supporters claim that Shawna didn't fit the "type" of person who could be responsible for the murders.   They use her status as a mother and history of volunteering with the homeless as proof that the prosecution's evidence against her must be wrong.  But, history has shown that truly terrible people can lie behind a charming exterior.


  • So charming it made women trust him.
  • Very social
  • Successful student who earned a psychology degree.
  • The governor wrote him a recommendation for law school.
    • Admitted to killing 30 woman before his execution but experts believe it to be more.

  • A  kid entertaining clown:  Pogo the Clown
  • Cleared by the secret service to shake hands with first lady Rosalynn Carter in 1978; Lady Carter gave him a personalized autograph
  • performed charitable services at fundraising events
  •  neighbors considered him "gregarious and helpful"
  • volunteered the services of his construction company free of charge at times
  • appointed director of Chicago's annual Polish Constitution Day Parade from 1975-78
  •  sexually assaulted and murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978

  • Preacher
  • carried a bible and ran a bible study group
  • neighbors said he was a nice guy who hosted BBQ's.
  • married
  • known as a smooth talker who was very charming to women.
  • hid his criminal history from those around him
  • determined to be the Baton Rouge Serial Killer.

  • Smart, beautiful, popular
  • "girl next store"
  • lover of animals, worked in vet clinic
  • future mother of three children
  • confessed to helping in the murder and rape of her 15 year old sister
  • helped murder and rape two other teen girls (14 and 15)
  • Video evidence showed she was an active and willing participant.

  • Influential, wealthy and prominent woman
  • Ran an orphanage and helped desperate people adopt children
  • Advised Eleanor Roosevelt on child welfare
  • personal invitation to President Truman's Inauguration
  • Executive Director of the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children's Home Society
  • operated for 26 years running a black market business selling babies stolen from poor women.
  • placed some in pedophile homes
  • Many children died while in her custody

People with dark interiors such as Bundy,  Gacy, and Tann do what they can to hide their true nature; it makes it easier for them to manipulate people and avoid getting caught.   They hide their dark hearts under normal exteriors because it serves them to.   It causes people to trust them,  allows them into their lives,  and helps them avoid being implicated for their crimes.   The nature of a murderer to not get caught is why the evidence, and not who they pretend to be,  is what must be used to determine their guilt.  Sometimes it is the nice next door neighbor or the kid-loving clown who are the monsters hiding in the dark.


When the evidence is considered as a whole,  it presents an interlocking trail that shows Forde's guilt. The two other suspects in the case were tied to Forde and it was determined she was with  them at the time the murders went down.

Jason Bush was Shawna's director of operations.  According to a woman who was Bush's girlfriend at the time of the murders,   Shawna picked Jason up form her home in May.   Bush told her he was going to re-enlist in the army.  The last time he was seen prior to the murders,   he was with Shawna Forde.

Jason Bush fit the description of the shooter who had his face painted black.  According to what Shawna told a witness, Jason's face was painted black on the night of the murders. The victim fired a shot at the man with the black face paint and heard him swear.   A trail of blood leading away from the home was matched to Jason Bush.   According to Shawna Forde,  Jason Bush was shot on the same night as the murders and she was with him when he was shot.

Evidence showed Shawna Forde was with Jason Bush on the morning following the murders as well. She called Chuck Stonex, a member of her group, MAD.  At the time, Chuck held a lot of respect for Shawna.   She told him that they had been in Douglas, Arizona for Border operations when one of her men was injured.  Shawna asked Stonex for a med-kit to treat the wound.  Stonex arrived later that night and was met by Shawna at the Arivaca mercantile.  She was driving a teal minivan and lead him back to Albert Gaxiola's home where Jason Bush was waiting to be treated.

Shawna provided the proof that she was with Bush at the time he had been shot when she told Stonex she was. Jason's  blood at the scene provided the proof that his injury occurred at the Flores' Arivaca home and not three hours away in Douglas.    The information together places Shawna at the scene of the crime.

Albert Gaxiola had ties to both the Flores family and Shawna Forde.  He at one time had a friendship with the family and the children knew him as "Uncle Al."  The friendship turned sour over a dispute related to marijuana.

 According to an email she sent,  Forde met Albert at a bar.  She implied her bold attitude both impressed and attracted him.  She joined him in the bathroom where they did some cocaine. .  According to Forde, it was a necessity to gain his trust.  Soon, they started a relationship and Albert would share her bed.  Her past experience as a prostitute made it easy for her to engage in sex with someone she didn't like. It was all business. Albert was her link to find drug dealers to target for her robberies.  She was his link to knock away the competition.  It was a mutually  beneficial relationship.

A text from Forde's phone to Albert supports the claim of a relationship between the two.  It came soon after another text that provided information to corroborate the phone was in Shawna Forde's possession at the time.

10:33 p.m - He is amazing man all good when you get keys see you in am love u.

A little more than an hour before the text was sent,   Chuck Stonex had just finished patching up Jason Bush who was they called "Red" in the texts.    When Chuck Stonex arrived to patch up Bush, a woman named Laine Lawless tagged along.  According to Dave Ricker who attended all three trials,  Laine initially told police that Shawna gave her a set of keys to give to Albert Gaxiola.

"Ms. Lawless has admitted to law enforcement that she came into contact with Shawna Forde, a co-defendant in this case at a home that belonged to current defendant Albert Gaxiola,” he said. “Mr. Gaxiola was not present at that time according to Ms. Lawless and Mr. Stonex.”  “Ms. Lawless admits that Shawna Forde gave her a set of car keys and asked her to deliver them to Tucson,” he said. “Our evidence will show that Mr. Gaxiola was in Tucson at the time and that Ms. Lawless gave a statement to detectives that she delivered those keys to a person by the name of Albert. Our defendant in this case is Albert Gaxiola. Ms. Lawless has subsequently indicated that the Albert she gave the keys to was not Albert Gaxiola.” (source Ricker's Rader Screen)

Laine Lawless later changed her story to claim that she gave the keys to an "Albert", but it was not Albert Gaxiola.   The text history shows that it was:

9:28 p.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “We told the woman you are minuteman Red is patched up.
10:33 p.m - Forde to Gaxiola - He is amazing man all good when you get keys see you in am love u.


Jason Bush's blood was found leading away from the Flores' home to the road.  It tied him to the crime scene.  An AK-47 that was left behind on the stove had Albert Gaxiola's DNA on it.  Both individuals are linked to Shawna Forde.  The surviving witness gave descriptions of three people who matched Forde, Bush, and Gaxiola.   Bush, whose DNA was at the scene, said both Gaxiola and Forde were there as well.

According to a journalist who attended Forde's and Gaxiola's trials on a daily basis,  it came out in Albert Gaxiola's trial that a pearl handled revolver was recovered from the fence line of the Flores' home.   The revolver had DNA and a print on it that was associated with Shawna Forde.  It was later determined that the prosecution did not use this evidence during the trial because it was considered "incomplete" and there was a concern it would not stand up to rigorous testing.  If the DNA or print was only partial in nature, it also could have created an opportunity for the defense to gain an appeal later if the evidence was considered too prejudicial by the court of appeals.   The defense had access to the evidence and the ability to conduct serious tests on the DNA to see if they could rule Shawna out as a suspect.  With the evidence against her, the action would have been risky.  If they did and it was determined to be linked to Shawna Forde, they could no longer argue that there was not any direct evidence linking her to the crime.  For a defense attorney, ignorance can be bliss.  The presence of this DNA was not share by either side of the case


There was not any direct evidence presented during Forde's trial to place her at the scene of the crime.  However, there was plenty of other evidence that implicated Shawna Forde in the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores and the attempted murder of Gina Flores.  Rarely is any direct evidence,  the smoking gun, discovered at a crime scene because those who commit it try to get away with it. After the murders, Shawna returned to get the gun she dropped because she feared her DNA would be discovered on it.


In the weeks prior to the murder:

Oin Oakstar and Albert Gaxiola steal 400 lbs of marijuana from a stash house.  They learn that they were wrong about who the marijuana belonged to after discovering it was Raul Flores, AKA Junior who owned it. They become fearful that Junior is going to kill them so they plan to take him out.

A documentary team follows Shawna to a site where MAD is performing a border patrol operation.   A teal minivan is seen in the background.

Shawna contacts a former associate, Ron Wedow, and asks for his assistance in robbing drug dealers.  She is not aware that Wedow is a FBI informant.  The information is shared with the FBI.

Shawna holds a meeting to recruit men to help her rob drug dealers.  Two FBI informants,  Ron Wedow and Robert Copley attend the meeting.  They share the information in their reports to the FBI.

Albert Gaxiola contacts Shawna regarding hitting Junior Flores' home as a target.  She meets with Gaxiola and Oakstar to discuss it.   Shawna tells them she has the perfect man for the job.

Shawna picks up Jason Bush from his Meadview home, six hours north of Arivaca.  She meets his girlfriend for the first time.  Bush tells his girlfriend he is leaving to re-enlist in the army; it is a lie to cover up his disappearance.

A few days prior to the murder
Oin Oakster and Albert Gaxiola meet Jason Bush for the first time.

May 29th,  daytime:

Gina Gonzales is searching her yard for a lost set of keys.   An unfamiliar vehicle catches her eye. It is a teal minivan with a woman and man inside.  She waves.

Texts between Gaxiola and Forde's phones show that Oin Oakster was going to show Jason Bush (Red) the place they planned on hitting that night.   In his later testimony, Oin Oakstar will admit that he was hiding in the van at the time it passed by the Flores' home.  Shawna's actions and phone conversations prove the phone was in her custody at the time.

Texts also show that they were gathering ammo and Shawna planned on getting together with Oin later that night. The initial texts suggests they already hit one place, the possible stash house that Shawna claimed was her target.
  •  13:38 hours: Gaxiola to Ford  “Bad guys looking for crew who broke door. Dog that took blast made it. Text when arrive. O has to give Red early tour.
  •  13:41 hours: Forde to Gaxiola   “Here now.
  •  13:42 hours: Gaxiola to Forde  “Copy. Sending Oh. Get his number.”
  •  14:13 hours: Gaxiola to Forde   “Have Oh call.”
  •  14:39 hours: Forde to Gaxiola   “Oh needs a box of SK ammo and a box of triple buck shot and one box of slugs.”
  • 14:44 hours: Gaxiola to Forde   “Bag of 7.62 in ammo box by main door. Copy on slugs.”
  • 14:45 hours: Forde to Gaxiola   “10-4.
  • 15:43 hours: Forde to Gaxiola   “O returning with me after nightfall."
O/Oh was Oin Oakstar.   Red was Jason Bush.   "After nightfall" is when the invasion occurred.

May 30th,  around 12:30 am
A short, fat woman and tall man knock on the door of the Flores' home claiming to be border patrol. Neither Jr. Flores nor Gina Gonzales recognize them because they are not anyone they now such as Oin Oakstar or Sandy Stoup. Jason Bush will later testify that Albert did not go to the door because he would have been recognized.  The fact they brought him along supports the claim that no witness was to be left alive. Jr. Flores and his 9-year old daughter are murdered.  Gina is shot and left for dead.   The woman rummages through the back bedroom and takes Gina's jewelry box with her.

May 30th 12:49 am
After the intruders leave,  Gina checks her daughter and grabs the phone to call 911.  She hobbles over to grab her husband's gun and collapses in the kitchen.  The intruders return while Gina is on the phone.  The women sees her, reacts in surprise, and orders Bush back in to "finish her off."   The woman could not have because she lost her gun.
The victim's 911
A gunfight breaks out and Gina hits one of the intruders, once in his vest and once in his leg.  He runs out and leaves a trail of blood from the door to the road.   DNA testing shows the blood belongs to Jason Bush.
The call lasted about 20 minutes because Gina lived about 30 miles from the nearest law enforcement The roads were dark, winding, and dangerous which made it difficult for the officers to respond any quicker.   They still made the 30 mile trip in 20 minutes.

May 30th 1:10 am
Officers are on the scene.  Gina is taken to the hospital.  The active investigation of the scene begins.

5/30 1:33 am
Gaxiola's phone sends a text to Forde's phone:
  • Cops on scene. Lay low.”
5/30 1:58 am 
Forde's phone replies to Gaxiola's phone:
  • No worries. All good. Just relax. Competition gone.”
    • Jr. was competition for Albert's drug business.
    • Testimony about phone calls and Shawna's actions match the context of the text.  The   phone is in her possession.
5/30 around 2 - 3 pm
A witness arrives at the scene and provides a lead.  Felicia Reese implicates Albert Gaxiola and Oin Oakstar as possibly being the ones who committed the murders.  Forde has connections to Gaxiola and was texting with him before and after the murders.

5/30 2:08 am - 2:14 am
After he is injured,  Bush retreats to Gaxiola's home.  Gaxiola is not present because his car broke down on the side of the road.   Forde is with Bush and sends Gaxiola a message that indicates she feels a need to turn on a camera, likely a surveillance system, so she could watch what was happening outside.
  •  0208 Forde “How do we turn camera on in bedroom?”
  • 0210 Gaxiola “Press input button on TV.”
  • 0213 Forde “TV controller? What color?”
  • 0215  Gaxiola “Gray. Press TV. Press input. Input 1.”
  • 0217  Forde “Got it.”
  • 0218  Gaxiola “Copy. Sweet dreams. Out.”
5/30 2:41 am
Jason Bush needs medical treatment and supplies.  The needed supplies are not in Gaxiola's home.  Forde sends a message to Gaxiola asking him to pick-up medical supplies to treat Bush's wound.  She is concerned for her friend.  (Testimony about phone calls with Shawna and her actions match the content of the text messages, placing the phone in Shawna's possession.)
  • “Can u stop and get a few rolls gauze and compress bandages? Big ones at a 24 hour store.”
5/30 2:43 am
Gaxiola can not do as Shawna wishes.  He informs her of his plight:
  • “Use towels. Anything you need. Car dead on side of road.”
5/30 2:46 am
Forde replies,  she is worried about her friend:
  • We’re on it. No worries. Are you going to be okay? Someone coming to get you?”
5/30 2:47 am
Gaxiola's responds:
  • Have AAA enroute.”
5/30 6:08 am
Forde sends a personal text to her daughter.  It is evidence the phone is in her possession.  Testimony regarding phone calls Shawna made and her actions further show Shawna had the phone.   Forde knew she dropped the gun and feared it could provide a link to her and thus, show her involvement in the crime. She wants to say good bye before it is too late.   
  •  “Whatever goes down im in deep know I love u make me proud and do somethin good with ur life ill call in a week god bless u jasz.”
5/30 6:15 am
Jason Bush needs pain meds and he is eager to get them.  He uses Shawna's phone to contact Gaxiola and identifies himself so Gaxiola knows it is no longer Shawna using the phone.  It shows that it was not Bush using her phone to send the other messages.  The only ones present are Bush and Forde and it is why they must rely on someone else to bring the medication and supplies.  
  •  “What is ur eta? This is Red.”
5/30 7:45 am
Gaxiola is in Tucson where they were supposed to meet after the crime. He can not come to them because his car is out of service.   He lets them know he will not be arriving.
  • "Had to sleep. Car alternator bad. When are you coming this way?”
5/30 7:46 am
Shawna has the phone again.  She replies:  
  • “Dude, Red cannot be moved. Where are you?
5/30 7:52 am
Gaxiola urges Shawna to get Bush moving or hide out until he can arrive:
  • “Car alternator bad. Will not start in Tucson. You have to get him up and bring him to town or lay low until car fixed.
5/30 8:00 am.
Shawna Forde feels Bush is in need of medical care that she can not provide because she does not have the supplies.  She contacts a member of her organization that she knows is in Arizona for an event she was supposed to attend as well.  The member is Chuck Stonex and at the time he held Forde in high regard.  She asks him to bring a medical kit.  Stonex agrees but informs Shawna he can not arrive until much later.   The context of the call matches the context of the texts sent from Shawna Forde's phone and shows it was in her possession.

5/30 Between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm
Gaxiola calls Oin Oakstar to deliver some painkillers and antibiotics to his home for Jason Bush.   Oin agrees but does not show up.  Shawna is informed of the plan and given a new cell phone number to contact Gaxiola with.

5/30 12:17 pm 
Shawna is expecting Oin but he never shows up.  Shawna sends a text to Gaxiola, who is now using his girlfriend's phone (Gina Moraga) 
  • Where’s Oh? (Oh = Oakstar)
5/30 12:26 pm
Gaxiola provides Oin's phone number via a text:
  • “520-822-4173.”
5/30 12:28 pm
Shawna calls Oin Oakstar to get him to bring the painkillers to Gaxiola's house.

5/30 1:15 pm
Police arrive at the residence of Sandy Stoup, looking for Oin Oakstar.  A search warrant is enacted. 

5/30 1:54 pm
Shawna sees the news and there is not any information to implicate any of them.  She informs Gaxiola: 
  • “Hey bro saw the news everything is good.”
5/30 2:02 pm
Shawna asks Gaxiola to bring her car to her.  The car is in Tucson at the place they were all supposed to meet.  She wants to put distance between herself and the vehicle used in the murders.  The request for the car and later texts about the keys shows Shawna is in possession of the cell phone.
  • “Can you bring my car? Will be better for now.”
5/30 Around 3 pm
Oin Oakstar is arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Sandy Stoup, a girlfriend, is aware of the arrest. 

5/30 16:42 pm 
Gaxiola is still using his girlfriend Gina's phone.  He tells Shawna to send up the keys.  His response, Shawna's text to her daughter,  Chuck Stonex's testimony, and a statement provided by Laine Lawless to law enforcement show that Shawna was the one in possession of her cell phone
  • Send keys up. I’ll take your car down.
5/30 16:44
Forde informs Gaxiola that she has people coming whom she will ask to drop the keys off to him.  Chuck Stonex informed Shawna he would not get to her until late. It is more evidence that Shawna Forde had the cell phone in her possession when the texts were sent.
  • IG&T people on the way here. I’ll send them keys. It will be late.”
5/30 16:46 
Gaxiola replies:
  • “If I get car fixed first I will go down there. Otherwise, as soon as I get keys will go down”
5/30 around 7 - 9 pm
Chuck Stonex arrives in Arivaca with Laine Lawless who followed him down in her car before joining him in his.   They meet Shawna Forde at the Arivaca Mercantile.  She is driving a teal minivan and leads them back to Gaxiola's home where Bush is waiting for treatment.   Stonex patches Bush up and Shawna tells him they were in Douglas Arizona for border ops the night before when Bush was injured. She states that his face was "all painted black."  Sometime during the visit,   Stonex sees Shawna hand Laine Lawless a set of keys and a piece of paper.

5/30 7:02 pm
Gaxiola contacts Shawna for an update.  He is still using Gina's phone but forgets to turn off the automatic message identifier.
  • How are you all hanging? Get your rest and gather strength. Red on med leave. Next target intel will need a 4 man team. Details when we me. Gina.”
5/30 7:04 pm
Shawna needs to know where to tell Laine to take the keys,  so she asks.
  • Where to u want the keys dropped? Can get them dropped by 10.”
5/30  7:07 pm
Gaxiola responds but he still forgets to turn off the identifier. 
  •  “Pima and Craycroft. Have them call when arrive. Will meet. Gina.”
    • The intersection of Pima and Craycroft is in Tucson,  where Gaxiola is with Shawna's car.
5/30 7:08 pm
Shawna notices the identifier and doesn't know who Gina is.  So, she asks.  
  • Who is Gina?
5/30 7:15 pm
Gaxiola sends the same message, this time without the identifier.  He indicates that the person delivering the keys needs to call when he or she arrives.  Stonex saw Shawna hand Laine a piece of paper with the keys.  
  • Pima Craycroft. Have them call when arrive. Will meet.”
5/30 around 9:00 PM 
Chuck Stonex and Laine Lawless leave.  Laine is on her way to drop off Shawna's keys.  To avoid suspicion and questions, Shawna tells Laine that Gaxiola is a Minuteman.

5/30 9:28 pm
Shawna makes Gaxiola aware that she identified him as a Minuteman so he would do the same:
  • We told the woman you are a minuteman. Red is patched up.”
5/30 10:29 pm 
Gaxiola checks on Jason and signs off for the night.
  • Red is good then? Have a could night see you tomorrow.”
5/30 22:23
Another text is sent which provided even more evidence that it was Shawna in possession of the phone.  She reminds Gaxiola to say he is in Shawna's group. When she signs off, she provides evidence of their relationship.
  • He is amazing man. All good. Remember you are one of my minutemen. When you get keys I’ll see you in am. Love you.
5/31 859 am
Forde makes Gaxiola aware that her phone is on and she is waiting for the keys.
  • "Have phone on for keys this am.”
5/31 9:25 am
Gaxiola makes it known he received the message
  • "Copy."
5/31 10:37 am 
Shawna is eager to get her car to get out of the area.
  • “Got keys yet?”
5/31 10:38 am
Gaxiola made contact with Laine Lawless and set it up to meet with her at 12 noon to get the keys.

  • At noon. Already spoke with her. Meeting at noon.”
5/31 10:38 am
Forde replies
  • K
5/31 12:16
Bush is now using Shawna's phone. 
  • “Hey bro. I’m feeling top notch. Can you get some big compress bandages? Thx.”
5/31 12:17
Gaxiola replies:
  • You got it Red. See u soon.”
5/31 12:18
  • “Love, honor, respect. Brothers.”

5/31 2 pm
Gina is interviewed in the ICU at University Medical Center in Tucson Arizona.  She again describes the intruders but indicates she does not know who they are.   Gina states that they were definitely not Oin Oakstar or Sandy Stroup.  She states the Hispanic man had the same build and sounded like Albert Gaxiola.

5/31 2:12 pm
Gaxiola has the keys and informs Shawna he will be coming down to Arivaca soon.
  • “Have keys. Will be heading south soon. Will text when I depart.”
5/31 3:15 pm -7:01
Shawna and Gaxiola update each other that everything is OK.
  • 3:15 pm Forde: “How you doing? All quiet here.”
  • 3:18 pm Gaxiola: “Good. Getting ready to go back. Be in right after dark. Everything cool on my side. See you real soon.”
  • 6:46 pm Forde: Still cool here, bro.
  • 6:59 pm Gaxiola: I will be there right after dark.”
  • 7:01 pm Forde: Cool. Don’t forget bandages, okay.”
5/31 7:05 
Despite having been involved in the murder of a 9-year old child,  Forde is ready to go out on another "job."
  • Forde: “Are we going out on a job tonight?”
  • Gaxiola: "ETA 2 hrs. Will advise
5/31 20:38 
Forde once again informs Gaxiola that everything is "OK" on her side.  If she was not involved in something illegal, why is she so concerned about letting him know everything is OK?
  • Forde: “All good here bro.”
  • Gaxiola: “I will be there real soon.”

6/01 4 PM
Homicide investigators arrive at Albert Gaxiola's home.  They teal minivan fitting the description Gina gave is present on the property.  Albert answers the door to meet with them.  A security sweep is completed of the residence but Shawna and Bush had left the day before.   While doing the sweep,  a basket of military clothing and gear is noticed.  Albert informs them that the clothing, gear, and minivan belong to a group of Minutemen who had been staying in his home.  He states that Shawna Forde was the leader and driver of the minivan as well.  According to Albert,  they were involved in a relationship.   A warrant is obtained and guns are discovered at Albert's house.   He is arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Albert bonds out later that day.

Included in the items recovered from Gaxiola's home are military clothing that bear Jason Bush's name,  one fake government ID with Jason Bush's name, and a notebook containing details about the Flores' and other potential targets.
  • green light Junior, 5-4-09,black mini 30, no clip, fold-out stock, Truck him, Hummer her, two quads, one Tony,
    • A black mini 30 rifle was recovered from the Flores' home.   Gina drove a Hummer and Jr. Flores had a truck.   Tony was a god friend of Jr.'s. 
  • Raul, Victor vindictive. Drugs. Both out, green light
  • “Green light 5-3, Tony, white four-wheel lifted two.
Over the next week
Shawna and Jason Bush's cell phone are traced traveling 1000 miles away to Redding California. While they are in Redding,  two armed robberies occur in the homes of friends and relatives of Shawna Forde.   The victims describe a man who looked like Jason Bush and state they did not see the getaway driver.  A safe was broken into at one of the homes that was hit.   The proprietor of the hotel Shawna and Jason were staying at states that they asked him where they could find a tool to help open a safe.

June 11, 2009 
Jason Bush returns home to his girlfriend's house in Meadview, Arizona.   He is encouraged to go down to the police station to provide a statement.  He complies.  When he arrives, he is told that Shawna Forde has been arrested and is talking.  Jason Bush is encouraged to tell his side of the story.  He confesses to everything and provides details that were not yet shared with the public.   Jason Bush claims that Shawna Forde was not only involved, but he claims she was the mastermind behind the murders.

June 12, 2009
Shawna Forde is arrested.   They find multiple pieces of jewelry in her possession, including a belt buckle with the letter "G."   They use Forde's phone to text Gaxiola and ask him to met "her" at a nearby McDonald's.  Gaxiola is arrested.

Sometime after June 12, 2009
Gina is asked to describe pieces of her jewelry.   She does and then she is shown pictures of the pieces that were in Shawna's possession.  She identifies multiple pieces of jewelry stolen form her home including a rosary, her wedding ring,  the "G" belt buckle, and a pair of earrings belonging to her mother-in-law.

Shawna writes letters from jail to her son and a man she had at one time been involved with,  Thomas Gibler.   The letters are seized.  In the letters,  she asked her son to say that he either gave her certain pieces of jewelry or remembered it from long ago.   Shawna asked Gibler to say that he gave her the belt buckle as a gift.  It was a last ditch effort to try to get away with her crime.

The FBI provides information to the Pima county prosecutor's office that they have information regarding the Flores' murders.   Two FBI informants,  Ron Wedow and Robert Copley,  attended a meeting in which Shawna requested help for raids on drug dealers to steal items to fund her group. Source files were provided to the prosecutor with the stipulation they were not to be publicly disclosed.

The records are accidentally filed in a way that the public can access them.  The source files are soon pulled and the FBI refuses to release anymore.

December 15, 2010
The prosecution seeks a court order to obtain them and it is given with strict limitations.  Any items received are promptly disclosed to the defense.

January 25, 2011
Forde's trial begins

February 14, 2011 
Forde is found guilty of all eight charges against her, including two counts of first-degree murder.

February 22, 2011
Shawna Forde was sentenced to death.


  • Lived on the property of the girlfriend of a man she thought was involved in the crime.
  • Overheard the girlfriend,  Sandy Stroup,  talking about details of the crime;  the details had not been released. 
  • Identified two suspects she stated had a long-standing dispute with the victim.
    • Oin Oakstar
    • Albert Gaxiola.

  • One of Oin's girlfriends.  
  • When police arrived at 13:15, there was evidence she had been there for awhile.  
    • she had just taken a shower.
    • her children, including a baby, were home with no other adults present.
  • Some Forde defenders think Stroup was the female intruder victim Gina Gonzales seen.  They believe she was the one using  Forde's phone to send the texts.  But evidence eliminates her.
    • On the 911 tape,  Gina indicated she saw the intruders but could not identify them as being anyone she knew.
      • She knew Sandy Stroup
    • It would not make any sense for the woman to identify herself as "border ops looking for a fugitive"  if it was Sandy Stroup.  The Flores' knew her.
    • In her interview on May 31st, Gina stated the female intruder was definitely not Stroup.
    • According to the timeline and context,  Forde, not Sandy, was using the cell phone.
  • One of the suspects named by Reese.
  • Albert Gaxiola's partner in the drug trade.  
  • Gina stated Oin Oakstar was definitely not one of the intruders.
  • In her 911 call,  Gina implied she did not recognize the intruders.  Gina knew Oin.
  • He initially denied any involvement but then agreed to testify for the state in exchange for a plea bargain on a weapon's charge.
  • Testimony: (highlighted parts are corroborated by other evidence)
    • He and Gaxiola considered Raul Flores competition
      • corroborated by texts
    • Together, they stole 400 lbs of marijuana and later learned it was Flores.  They decided to knock him of because they feared he might kill them first.
    • Gaxiola told him about Forde and suggested bringing her in to help eliminate Flores.  
    • A meeting occurred between Forde, Gaxioa, and Oakstar and it was determined they would take him out and Forde would keep the money, drugs, and weapons to fund her organization.
    • Forde said "She had somebody she could bring in who would be perfect for the problem."   Bush was brought down.
      • corroborated by Bush's girlfriend's statement about Shawna picking him up.
    • He met Bush for the first time just 2 -3 days before the murders.
    • Oin directed Forde and Bush to the Flores' home on May 29th.  They were in a teal mini van.  Bush was driving,  Forde was in the passenger seat, and Oin was hiding in the back. Gina Flores saw the van.
      • corroborated by Gina's statement that she saw the van with a man and woman in the front.  
      • corroborated by the text that stated Oin was going to give Red an early tour
    • Gaxiola drove the van later that night to pick Oin up for the job.  He claimed he was too drunk and high to go and was not present when the Flores' were killed.
      • corroborated by the text that he was supposed to be picked up after nightfall
      • corroborated by Gina's denial that she saw him at the scene.
    • He received a call after the murders informing him of what happened.  Following that call,  Gaxiola called him to ask him to bring antibiotics and painkillers to his home.   Bush had been hurt.
    • He dawdled,  and Shawna Forde called him.  He asked her about the shooting and she replied, "Things got fucked up."   Albert left a gun behind and when she went back to retrieve it,  she learned the wife was still alive.   A gunfight ensued.
      • corroborated by the 911 call
        • a female returned,  the gun looked like a sawed -off shot gun
      • corroborated by Gina's statement.
      • timeline correlates with the time of Oakstar's arrest.  He was picked up returning to Stroup's home..
Oin Oakstar was a known criminal and people described him as a liar.  However, parts of his testimony were corroborated by what others said and matched the text and phone records. 

  • loan survivor who saw the intruders in her home on May 30th, 2009
  • Called 911:
    • stated her husband and daughter were shot.
    • intruders came back in to get a gun they left and a gunshot ensued
    • indicated they came in pretending to be Border Patrol looking for an escapee
      • would not be people she knew because there would not be any reason for them to give false identification.  They would have been recognized.
    • described a shorter fat, white woman, a white tall male, and a Mexican man
      • fit the descriptions of Shawna Forde,  Jason Bush, and Albert Gaxiola.
    • indicated they left a gun that looked like a sawed off shotgun
      • matches Oin's testimony 
    • they said "Hurry up and get what we need."
      • matches the claim per the FBI informants that Shawna needed money to fund her organization
    • she shot off rounds from her gun but did not know how many
    • The intruders were dressed in camouflage
      • camouflage clothing was found in Gaxiola's home with Bush's name on it.
    • Identified only one woman in the group of intruders
    • Stated the man had his face painted black
      • corroborated by Stonex's testimony that Forde said Bush's face was blacked out
    • Stated she could not state what color the woman's hair was.
  • May 31st police interview
    • described the woman intruder as 35-50,  short and heavyset or chubby.
      • matched Shawna's description. She was 5'3" and heavyset.
    • described the white male intruder as 35-50, with a funny hair line, receding or balding, and really tall.
      • matched Jason Bush's description, he was 6'4" inches and much heavier than he was at the time of his trial.
      • Bush is identified as "Mexican-American"  per the ADOC but earlier arrests in other states list him as "White"  and "Non-hispanic."   Bush could pass for Caucasion, and likely is.   He may have identified himself as Mexican to prevent from being recognized as a white-supremicist in prison.
    • described the third intruder as Hispanic and stated his voice sounded like Albert Gaxiola's and had the same height and build.  
    • Denied the intruders were either Oin Oakstar or Sandy Stroup.
      • some claim she was afraid of retaliation if she identified them.  Her identification that one of the intruders could have been Oin's drug dealing partner, Albert Gaxiola, makes the claim not reasonable. 
      • Oin was tall and heavy like her description, but he had distinguishing features that were not mentioned such as facial hair and tattoos.His hairline was not receding or balding.   Bush fit the description of the intruder much closer.
  • Testimony
    • the female intruder stated "There's nothing here, we hit the wrong house."
      • corroborates Oin's statement that the hit was for money.
      • corroborated the FBI informant's statement Shawna wanted to hit an Arivaca drug dealers home for money.
  • Prior to the trial,  Gina was not able to definitely pick Shawna Forde out of a photo line-up.  However, she was not able to eliminate her as a suspect either.   Shawna's was one of the remaining three photo's that Gina could not eliminate;  she looked like the woman who had been in her home.
  • When Gina would testify over a year later,  she still could not positively ID Shawna.  She thought that the intruder's hair was brown and that maybe Shawna was wearing a wig.  She provided an in-court identification of Shawna as looking like the intruder but added she couldn't definitely say she was.  She just looked a lot like her but had changed some.
  • When Gina was initially interviewed on May 31st,  it was the first time investigators learned of the possible getaway vehicle.  Gina told the detective that prior to the murders,  she noticed a teal minivan driving by her home.  She lived in a remote area and had never seen the van before so it got her attention.   A man and woman were inside and the woman waived at her.
    • Oakstar's later description of the van and the drive-by would match Gina's.   Unless he was there as he stated or he was told about the van, he would not have known.
Gina's description helped investigators rule out Oin Oakstar and his girlfriend as being the male shooter and woman in the house.  Whereas Oakstar fit part of the description,  he had distinquishing features that Gina did not mention.   Additionally,  Gina indicated on the 911 tape she did not know who the intruders were.   At the time, she feared they would be coming back to kill her so if she did recognize them, she didn't have a reason to deny it.   Doing so would have allowed her and her family's killers to go free if they were Oakstar or Stroup.   And, when Gina was asked the following day if they could have been, she stated definitely not.

Gina's interview did give the investigators a lead.  She indicated one of the intruders resembled Albert Gaxiola,  a man who another witness indicated could be responsible for the crime.  She also made them aware of a need to be on the look out of a teal mini van.  On June 1st,  investigators went to Albert's home.   The meeting with Albert is the first time a new name came up:  Shawna Forde.

  • Felicia Reese identified Albert as potentially being one of the murderers because he considered victim Raul Flores as competition in the drug trade.
    • the text to his phone corroborates the statement
  • Gina stated that Albert and the victim Raul Flores had a dispute earlier in the year due to Albert storing marijuana on the Flores' property.
  • Gina Gonzales stated that the Hispanic intruder had features like Albert and sounded like him.
  • Oin testified that Albert and he believed Flores to be their competition and they wanted to shut him down.  So, they stole 500 lbs of marijuana from Flores and decided they had to kill him before he retaliated.
  • Oin testified that Albert suggested bringing Shawna Forde down to help eliminate Flores.
  •  When investigators arrived at Albert's home,  military gear and a teal minivan was noted on the property.
    • The items were in plain site;  a search warrant was obtained.
  • Military clothing with the name Bush was found on it.  A department of defense page was discovered with Bush's name on it.
  • Albert stated the military gear and teal minivan belonged to Minutemen who had been staying in his home.  He identified Shawna Forde as the leader and the driver of the van.
    • Shawna later indicated Albert was a scout for her group.
  • Blood was found in the van;  DNA testing showed it was Bush's blood.
  • A pair of woman's size 7 boots were found in the van;  blood was on them;  the blood was determined to be Jason Bush's blood.
    • Shawna Forde had size 7 shoes.
  • A cell phone was recovered from the scene:   Shawna Forde was a contact.
  • A text message had been sent from the phone to Shawna's shortly after the murder:  1:33 am "Cops on scene, lay low."
    • Cops were on the scene of the Flores' murders
    • The calls Shawna made from the phone correlate with the text messages and place the cell phone in her possession.
  • Shawna's phone replied:  1:58 am: no worries. "Relax. Competition gone"
    • Raul Flores was competition for Gaxiola's drug business.
  • In her May 31st interview,  Gina introduced the teal minivan.  It was the first time homicide investigators learned of a potential vehicle related to the murders.   Gina stated it passed by her home a couple of days prior with a woman and man in it.  Months later,  Gina stated she believed the man was driving. 
  • Months after his arrest,  Oin Oakstar turned State's witness.   He stated he was present when the teal mini van passed by the home but he had ducked down.   However, he claimed Forde was driving and Bush was in the passenger seat.  
  • Charles "Chuck" Stonex testified that he was called to Arivaca to treat Bush's wound.  He met Shawna at the Arivaca Mercantile and she was driving a teal minivan at the time. She lead him back to Gaxiola's home.
  • Investigators went to Gaxiola's home on June 1st,  the teal minivan was there.  Gaxiola said the van belonged to the Minutemen and Shawna Forde was driving it.  
  • The van was searched:
    • Blood was discovered;  DNA linked it to Jason Bush
    • A pair of woman's size 7 boots were recovered;  blood determined to be Jason Bush's was on them.   Forde had size 7 shoes.
  • A teal minivan is seen in the background behind Shawna in a 2009 interview conducted during a MAD border watch.

  • Belonged to Forde's organization,  MAD;  he had a lot of respect for Shawna at the time.
  • Testified that Forde called him on May 30 around 8 am to bring a medical kit because Jason Bush had been shot.  He told her he could but it would not be until much later.
    • this is corroborated by text history.
  • Chuck stated Shawna told him they were at Border ops in Douglas, Arizona when Bush was injured.   Bush's blood places him at the Arivaca crime scene.  Shawna's claim of being with him places her there as well.
  • Shawna was driving a teal minivan when she met him at the Arivaca Mercantile.
  • He testified Jason Bush showed him a .40-caliber round that he was keeping as a "souvenir" from being shot.  Bush said he was shot once in his vest and once in his leg.
    • The gun Gina was shooting was a 40-caliber
  • He testified Shawna Forde stated "You should have seen Gunny's (Bush) face last night painted black.  It was scary.
    • Gina stated the white intruder had black face paint.
    • Forde's statement indicates she was with Bush when his face was painted black.
    • The victim,  Gina Gonzales,  fired shots at the intruders when they returned to her home.  The shots are heard on the 911 tape and she stated she did not think she hit one of them.  She was not sure but one of them had started cussing after she fired a shot.
    • It was obvious Gina hit one of the intruders.   A blood trail was detected leading away from Gina's home.
    • DNA was collected from the blood trial and it was determined to match Jason Bush.
    • When the teal minivan was discovered at Gaxiola's home, it was noted there was blood present inside of it.  It matched Jason Bush.
    • In the teal minivan was a pair of size 7 woman's boots with blood on the sole.  The blood matched Jason Bush.
      • Shawna wore a size 7
    • A 1:33 am text sent from Forde's phone showed the user was with an injured person:  "can you stop and get a few rolls of gauze and compress bandages?"
      • The text was sent to Gaxiola's phone
    • A text at 7:45 am showed the injury was serious:   "Dude. Red cannot be moved. Where r u?"
      • The text was sent to Gaxiola's phone.
    • That evening the injured person Shawna spoke about at 8am was verified to be Jason Bush. Forde told witness Chuck Stonex Bush was shot during border ops the night before in Douglas, three hours away from Arivaca
      • Bush's blood was found in Arivaca  
    • Stonex indicated that Bush showed him a spent .40 caliber bullet and said it was a "souvenir" from the shooting.  
    • On June 10th,  Bush returned to his girlfriend's home, limping, and stated he had been shot. 
    • When Bush was arrested,  he confessed and stated he was shot twice:  Once in his leg and once in his tactical vest.
    • He was the head of operations in Forde's organization,  MAD.
    • Oin Oakstar testified that he was brought down to eliminate Flores.  Oin added Bush was present in the teal minivan that drove by the home the day before the shooting.
    • The victim described one intruder as being "really tall", white, about 300 lbs, having a receding hairline, and having black face pain.
      • Jason Bush was 6'4"
      • Oakstar stated at Bush's trial he looked like he lost a lot of weight.   Bush was listed in his prison photo as weighing 200 lbs, meaning he weighed more at the time of the murders.
      • Jason Bush had a receding hairline and although he is listed as Mexican-American on his ADOC intake, he is listed as white/ non-Hispanic on prior arrests.
      • Witness Chuck Stonex testified Shawna Forde indicated his face was painted black on the night of the murders.
    • A male intruder was shot on the night of the murders.  His blood was found at the scene.
      • Witness Chuck Stonex stated Forde told him on May 30th Jason Bush was shot the night before when they were together.  It was around the same time the male intruder was shot.
      • The blood at the scene of the crime matched Bush's.   The Flores family lived in a remote area on 5-acres.  The likelihood of Bush's blood being located on the scene without him being the shooter was rare. 
    • Soon after the murders,  texts were sent from Forde's phone to Gaxiola's requesting him to pick up dressing supplies:
      •  2:41 am: can you stop and get a few rolls of gauze and compress bandages
    • Oin Oakstar testified that he was asked to bring painkillers and antibiotics for Bush.  At  Bush's trial he testified that Bush told him he had shot Raul Flores, his daughter and his wife.
    • Chuck Stonex was called on May 30th to bring bandages to treat Bush's wound.  Shawna told him Bush was shot the night before at "border ops."    Bush showed him a .40-caliber bullet that he called a "souvenir" from the shooting.   
      • Gina Flores' gun was a .40-caliber.
    • Bush received treatment for his gunshot;  Shawna was involved in coordinating the treatment
      • She asked Oin Oakstar brought medication
      • Albert Gaxiola was asked to bring dressings and compression bandages via a text from Shawna's phone.
      • Chuck Stonex was asked to bring bandages and look at the wound.  
        • The phone calls match the texts, removing any reasonable doubt that  the same person sent both.
    • The treatment was successful enough to allow him to travel 1000 miles a week after he was shot.   He was not in any duress when he arrived at the police station on June 11th for questioning.
    • Bush was lead to believe Forde was already in custody and talking.  He was told they wanted to give him a chance to provide his side of the story.   He confessed everything.
      • He was the operations director of MAD,  an organization ran by Shawna Forde.
      • In the afternoon of May 29th, Oin was with him and Forde in a teal minivan and directing them to the Flores' property to scout it. 
      • He stated he went with Forde and Gaxiola on May 30th to the Flores' residence.
      • Originally, he claimed he did not initially go inside until after the shooting occurred.  He then went to the door and that was when he got shot.
      • When introduced to evidence from the crime,  he admitted he did enter the residence before the shots.  He stated that Shawna Forde and he entered the home first.  Shawna identified herself as members of US border patrol looking for fugitives.
        • This story matched Gina's description of events.   It was a fact he could not have known unless involved.
      • He stated that he had a .45 cal. handgun and that Forde had a  .357 revolver,” 
        • a .357 revolver was recovered outside of the Flores' home.  It was second fact Bush could not have known at the time unless he was involved.
      • He stated he shot the father first, then the mother, and finally the little girl.  The order of attacks matched Gina's story.  It was third fact he could not have known unless he was involved.
      • According to Bush,  it was Forde and Gaxiola who made him shoot the little girl.  He added that he went to the home thinking that no one would be hurt but when they arrived, Shawna Forde and Albert Gaxiola informed him there was not to be any witnesses.
        • This story is likely a lie in an attempt to reduce sentencing involving a murder charge.
        • The need to eliminate witnesses  is corroborated by Gina's statement.  She said when the female intruder realized she was still alive, she ordered Bush to go "finish her off."
          • it was a fourth fact he could not have known unless involved.
      • Bush stated that the reason why he and Forde went to the door is because they were persons unknown to the residents.  If Gaxiola had went to the door,  he would have been recognized.
        • This would hold true for Oin Oakstar and his girlfriend Sandy Stoup. The people who presented themselves as border patrol had to be people that Flores would not have recognized.
      • Bush drew a diagram of the Flores' home and where the victims were.  At his trial,  this diagram was shown to the jury.
        • The knowledge of the home and victim location was a fifth fact that Bush could not have known unless he was involved.
      • Bush stated that they took a box of jewelry and some firearms.
        • Gina's jewelry was taken in the robbery.
          • It was a sixth fact Bush could not have known unless he was involved
      • Bush stated Forde returned to the home because she thought she left her .357 revolver behind.  When she entered the home,  she saw the female was on the phone and ordered him to go back in and finish her off.
        • The statement matched Gina's details of the crime.  It was a seventh fact Bush could not have known unless he was involved.
        • The .357 revolver is an eight fact Bush could not have known.  The information came out during Gaxiola's trial and there was DNA and a print that was a partial match to Shawna on the gun. 
      • Bush stated he returned, and a gunfight broke out.  He was shot once in the leg and once in his tactile vest.  He claimed he left and Gaxiola returned and shot back with what he thought was the AK 47.   When he was informed the AK 47 was left at the house,  he stated it could have been a shotgun Gaxiola was using. 
        • An AK 47 was recovered from the home and it had Gaxiola's DNA on it.  Bush could not have known a AK-47 was present and Gaxiola had possession of it at some time unless he was there.   It was a ninth fact from his confession that proved he was there. His story also matched the gunfight heard in the 911 tape.  It was a tenth fact he could have only known if he was involved. .
    It was stated that Bush later recanted his version of events and did not testify in Forde's trial against her.   However,  the fact he recanted meant very little.  He knew several details about the murders that he should not have known unless he was involved.   The Flores' home was in a remote area located on 5-acres.  Jason was shot with the same caliber gun that Gina shot the intruder with.   According to Stonex,  Shawna indicated Jason was shot on the same night as the intruder.   Bush's blood was found on the property so he could not have been 150 miles away in Douglas Arizona at the time of the murders like Shawna said.  Shawna also told Stonex that Jason's face was painted black on the night in question;  Gina described one of the intruders a having black face paint.   Jason matched the description Gina gave of the intruder:  Tall, big, and with a receding or balding hairline.  Jason's blood was found in the teal minivan the witness saw staking out the home the morning before the murders.   There is not any room for reasonable doubt that Jason Forde was involved in the murders.

    • Head of the Minutemen American Defense,  MAD.
    • She was 5'3" and overweight.
      • The victim described the woman intruder as being white, heavyset, short, and in charge.
    • Jason Bush was her director of operations.
      • he fit the description of the intruder and his blood was at the scene
    • She stated Albert Gaxiola was one of her scouts.  
      • The victim said the Hispanic intruder sounded like Albert.
    • Wanted to buy a large property to set-up a base for her operations.  She did not have the money to do so.
      • She was deeply in debt, jobless, and did not have income coming in.  
    • Her sister testified that Shawna talked about robbing drug dealers to fund her operation.
    • FBI informants stated they attended a meeting where Shawna proposed the idea of robbing drug dealers to fund her group and was seeking volunteers.   The area she targeted was the Avarica area.
      • The Flores' home was in Avarica and Raul Flores was a known drug dealer.
    • The victim's jewelry was discovered in her purse when she was arrested.
      • She sent a letter to her son asking him to testify that he either gave her some of the jewelry or recognized it from years earlier.
      • She sent a letter to Thomas Gibler  to ask him to testify that he gave her a belt-buckle with a "G" on it because she liked the "Guess" brand of clothing.    Gina stated it was hers, and the "G" was for Gina.   
    • Shawna was with Bush the night of the murders
      • She admitted she saw his face painted black
      • she told Chuck Stonex she was with Bush in Douglas, Az, a location 3 hours away from Aviraca but Bush's blood places him at the scene.
    • Shawna had been texting with Gaxiola the day of the murders:
    • Texts show Forde was with Bush right after the murders and in possession of her phone.
      • She sent a text to her daughter at 6 am, just 5 hours after the murders.
      • A couple of hours after the murder, she sent a text to Gaxiola asking him to bring bandages.  He could not because his car broke down.  The text matches a call Shawna made the next morning to Chuck Stonex,  asking him to bring a medical kit. 
      • The texts indicate a set of keys are to be given to Laine Lawless who was to call Gaxiola when she reached the destination.   Chuck Stonex witnessed Forde give Laine  piece of paper and a set of keys.  


    • Bush was her director of operations;  he met Gaxiola thru Forde
    • Gaxiola was her scout;  Gaxiola met Bush thru Forde
    • Oin Oakstar was Gaxiola's partner in crime;  he met Forde through Gaxiola and he met Bush through Forde.
    • Oin Oakster testified Gaxiola called Forde to help w/ the invasion;  Forde called Bush down to help
    • Oakstar said after the shooting Gaxiola called him to bring medications for Bush's wound.   When he did not show up quick enough,  Shawna called him.
      • Texts corroborate his testimony
    • Bush's girlfriend at the time Melinda Shelton,  testified that Bush at the end of May, informed her he was going away for awhile.   He did not tell her he was going to Arivaca; he told her he was going to re-enlist.  Forde was the one to pick him up.  Her testimony put Bush and Forde together around the time of the murders. 
    • Bush was away until he returned home on June 10th with a gunshot wound. Upon arriving home,  he was called to the police station to give a statement.  He confessed and shared many details of the crime that he could not have known unless he was involved.  Bush implicated Shawna and Gaxiola as his co-conspirators.   
    • Chuck Stonex said Shawna called him in the morning of May 30th to tell him she had a man who had been hurt.  She stated they had been down around Douglas and had been jumped by bandits.  Stonex agreed to go to her Avarica hotel but only after he attended a BBQ in Hereford, at the home of the founder of the American Border Patrol.  Forde was supposed to have attended the BBQ as well
      • Douglas, Arizona is 3 hours east of Arivaca.   Whereas,  Hereford is only 45 minutes away.   Fordes' story did not make sense because it meant she would have driven 3 hours with an injured man instead of seeking help just 45 minutes away.   The discovery of Bush's blood at the crime scene shows Forde was lying about the location Bush was shot.  Her knowledge he had black face paint that night and the timing of the injury texts show that they were together.

    • Stonex testified that he met Lawless at the BBQ and she asked to tag along so she could met Shawna Forde. She followed him to the Arivaca area and the two arrived  just past sundown.  Shawna was driving the teal minivan and met them at  the Arivaca Mercantile  and lead them to the room.  Bush was inside with a bullet wound to his shin.  Stonex determined the wound to not be severe, treated it, and left. 
      • Texts corroborate his testimony
    • After Bush (Red) was patched up, Lawless was instructed to drop keys off to Gaxiola
      • A text was sent from Forde's phone to Gaxiola stating "We told the woman you are minuteman Red is patched up.”
        • Only Shawna and Bush (Red) were present when Stonex and Lawless left.   The context showed Shawna had her phone.
    •  Bush was injured the at the same time as the intruder and his blood was found at the scene indicating he was the intruder.  Shawna admitted to being with Bush when he got the injury which places her at the scene.   Texts and phone calls show Forde, Bush, and Gaxiola were in contact and together before and after the murders;  they discussed Bush's injury after the murders and Shawna sought him medical help which places the cell phone in her hands.  The text to her daughter and the one about Lawless confirms it further.   
    • DNA evidence puts Bush in the van after being shot.  Testimony from Chuck Stonex shows Forde was driving that van the evening after the murders.  A statement from Albert Gaxiola shows Forde was driving that van before the murders.   Testimony from Oin Oakstar and Gina Gonzales shows Forde was in the van when it was used to survey the Flores' home before the murders.   
    • On June 11th,  Bush confessed that he shot the victims and implicated Shawna Forde as being involved.  He knew details about the crime even though they had not been released.
    • Shawna Forde and Jason Bush knew each other much longer than Bush knew Gaxiola. Shawna named Bush her director of operations.  When he was shot,  she tended to his wounds.   She was the one to pick him up from his girlfriend's home at the end of May.   She traveled with him from Arivaca to Redding.   They were friends.  If it were another woman involved, it did not make sense for Bush to implicate Shawna instead the other woman.   
      • FBI informants.
      • Wedow knew Shawna Forde.  He testified she called him in April 2009 to seek his help with a plan to obtain machine guns, rocket-powered grenades, drugs, and money from a house in Arivaca. 
      • He said Forde asked him if he had a team that could go to Arivaca and take the house down. She said the family there was a front.
        • this is likely contained in the sealed FBI source documents.   
      • Wedow contacted someone who worked for the  FBI,  Rob Copley.
      • A meeting was set up with Forde, Wedow, Copley, and two other individuals.  Forde talked about the money that was supposed to be at the Arivaca home she was targeting.  It was supposed to be $2-3 million dollars along with drugs and guns.  
      • When Forde was questioned about her source, she said it was valid.  She continued to talk about drugs, money, and home invasions.
      • Forde drew the a map of Arivaca with the location of the target house.  The sketch was later inadvertently destroyed by the FBI when it was attributed to a closed case.
        • The FBI informants claimed it was a map of Arivaca and surroundings.
        • Forde claimed it was a drawing of a stash house she planned to hit.
          • The evidence showed Forde had multiple targets;  the drawing would not have ruled out her involvement at the Flores' home.
      • Taped phone call between Wedow and Forde: June 2
        • Forde denied knowledge about the Flores' murder.
        • Wedow asked asked if the deal they talked about in their meeting was still on.
        • Forde stated her "main guy" was currently in jail and added that things needed to "calm down" before Wedow came down.
          • The Flores' murders had just happened.  
          • Thomas Gibler was supposed to meet Forde in Arizona and got arrested and jailed on the way.
        • Forde stated a friend just got shot but claimed it was bandits.
          • The blood recovered from the crime scene showed she was lying.
        • Forde stated, ", "I’m the person that is willing to take it to the next level and that scares them.”
      • Taped phone call, Forde and Wedow, June 9th
        • Wedow asks if there was a new target.  Forde responded, "We did a couple of operations without you."  
        • Forde states, "A lot of people understimate me."
        • When Wedow asks her what her plans were for obtaining money to purchase land for her new base, she replied, "Blackwater type of stuff"

      • Wedow said Forde said she met a "cartel" guy in a bar whom she impressed.  She said they made a deal where he would tell her about illegals coming in if she ignored his drug deals.
        • The "cartel" guy was Albert Gaxiola.
      • "The deal she had going involving machine guns, rocket-powered grenades, drugs and money,” he testified. “They were in a house in Arivaca"

      The evidence shows that Forde was planning a raid on drug dealers in Arivaca.  FBI source files and testimony from Ron Wedow and Robert Copley along with testimony from Forde's sister show she had a plan to raid drug dealers to fund her operation.

      Forde attempted to have the testimony of Rob Wedow and Rob Copley precluded based on a danger of unfair prejudice.  In doing so, she admitted the meeting happened but insisted that it should be precluded because it was an improper "other act" evidence.   Forde was trying to take advantage that a person's past bad acts are often not allowed to be used against them in an unrelated case.  The trial court denied her motion as did the appeal court.  The meeting could be considered because it demonstrated " preparation and plan for the crimes" that Forde was being charged with.

      Forde further admitted she had a plan on robbing drug dealers when she included the destruction of evidence in her appeal.   She admitted to drawing a map and claimed it was evidence she was going to hit a stash house and not a family home.  However, according to the two FBI informants and FBI agent Chris Anderson the drawing was a basic map of Arivaca that demonstrated the locations of the houses, roads, and the US/Mexico border.   Even if the map showed a location of a stash house she planned on hitting,  it held little meaning for her case.  Robert Copley had testified in the trial that Shawna indicated her original target was a stash house so the information was already known.  Additionally,   the text evidence and recorded phone calls showed that Shawna had more than one target in mind.

      The evidence shows that Shawna was planning to raid known drug dealers to gain income for her group.  She was deeply in debt at the time and the only income coming in were donations to her group.  She had her sites set on purchasing a large plot of land for her base of operations and no means of getting it.  Robbing drug dealers became her plan.

      Raul Flores was a known drug dealer in the area.  A notebook recovered from Albert Gaxiola's home indicated that Raul Flores was a target.  Details about his home, vehicles, family, and weapons were found in the notebook.  Forde admitted that she was present at the scene of the crime during her mitigation.  She argued that she was only a minor participant in the crime and that Bush and Gaxiola had manipulated her;  she claimed she did not know they were going to murder anyone.  These factors can not be argued without an admission that she was there.

      " Forde argues that the following mitigation evidence called for leniency: (1) she was a relatively minor participant in the murders, see A.R.S. § 13–751(G)(3); (2) Gaxiola and Oakstar manipulated her involvement in the murders, which she did not foresee"

      The case summary of her appeal of the death penalty indicated that Forde

       " did not share her colleagues motivation to kill the child.  But – her motivation was to secure funding for her organization; the evidence suggested that her colleague, who was a subordinate, shared this motivation."

      Despite her defense that she was not present when the murders occurred, her argument Forde presented  was more evidence that she was there.

      When Shawna Forde returned to the home, saw Gina was still alive, and instructed Jason Bush to finish her off she showed her willingness to murder.   The trial court found the same and noted in the case summary that:

      Substantial evidence demonstrated that defendant planned and participated in the robbery to fund the minuteman operation.  She was aware that a cohort wanted to kill his competitor. She directed that the surviving victim be “finished off.” She then texted “competition gone,” after the murders.  All demonstrate her willingness to facilitate the murders to accomplish the burglary to fund her organization.
      • Evidence that showed she was planning a robbery to fund the Minutmen:
        • Informant testimony
        • Her sister's testimony
        • Bush's confession
      • Evidence that she was aware a cohort wanted to kill his competitor
        • Oakstar's testimony
        • The text she sent just an hour after the murders. Evidence supports that the phone was in her possession.   "competition gone"
      • Evidence that she was willing to murder to get away with her crime
        • The victim's statement that the woman intruder told another to "finish her off."
      When all factors are considered,  there is not any room for reasonable doubt that Shawna Forde was at the scene and an active participant in the murders with the purpose to leave no witnesses.   Forde's mitigation factors show that she was there.  Yet, she was unwilling to show any remorse for her participation in the events that lead to the tragic death of Brisenia Flores.

      "“I wish I could say I was sorry it happened,” Forde said. “I am not sorry on my behalf because I didn’t do it."   “I know in her mind,” Forde said of Gonzalez, “I am guilty and she hates me. I know her tragedy is extremely sad.” But on the other hand, she said “people shouldn’t deal drugs if they have kids.

      There were not any drugs found in the family home.  According to Forde's mitigation arguments,  she was present when  Bush killed Brisenia and Raul Flores.  She claimed she was only there to rob a drug dealer out of money yet she left a man with a gun who had shot two people alone with a child who was a witness and saw their faces.  Additionally,  she instructed him to "finish off"  the mother, demonstrating she was willing to leave another child parentless.

      "And Hell Followed With Her"

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