TUCSON, Ariz. — An Arizona jury on Tuesday sentenced the leader of an anti-illegal-immigrant group to death in the 2009 murder of a young girl and her father in what prosecutors said was an attempt to steal drug money to fund the group's operations.
Shawna Forde, the leader of the Minutemen American Defense, a small border watch group, becomes the third woman on Arizona's death row, the Pima County Attorney's Office said.
The 43-year-old Forde was convicted Feb. 14 of first-degree murder and other charges in the May 2009 home invasion in Arivaca, a desert community about 10 miles north of Mexico. Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed in the robbery.
Prosecutors alleged Forde and her co-defendants, Jason Eugene Bush and Albert Robert Gaxiola, dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into the home, then shot Flores, his daughter and his wife, Gina Gonzalez, who survived her injuries after getting into a gun battle with the attackers.
The Pima County jury's decision, which was unanimous, is binding.
If the jury had not voted for the death penalty, the judge would have decided whether Shawna Forde should have received life with a chance of parole after 35 years or life with no possibility of parole.
Forde showed no emotion as the verdict was read, according to CNN Tucson affiliate KGUN.
Her attorney, Eric Larsen, said he "fully expected that this community valued human life greater than this jury did."
Juror Angela Thomas told KGUN, "We chose death because that's what seems fair. There's a little girl in this equation whose father won't be able to walk her down the aisle," she said.
Based on everything I keep reading about Arizona I'm surprised that Forde was convicted . As for the death penalty - honestly, I don't know. I'd be just as happy to have her rot in jail for the remainder of her life with no chance of parole.