Trial of Female Minuteman Accused of Murdering Latina Child Begins in Arizona

AP Photo/Greg Bryan, Pool

Little Brisenia Flores' last words to her attackers were: "Why did you shoot my mom?" Her mother, Gina Gonzalez, actually managed to survive being shot three times by intruders posing as law-enforcement officials by playing dead in the hopes of saving her child but Shawna Forde and her accomplices murdered the 9-year-old girl anyway, just as they had killed her father Raul Flores moments before.

Forde, a notorious nativist who moved to Arizona to start her own Minutemen militia,  was accompanied by Jason Bush, a white supremacist who authorities suspect is a serial killer, and Albert Gaxiola, a local resident who served time in prison for drug dealing. The murder occured in May of 2009 and Forde, Bush and Gaxiola were arrested 12 days later and charged with first-degree murder, burglary and aggravated assault. Their trail begins next Tuesday.

Forde stands accused of masterminding the murder in order to try to steal drugs and money from Flores to fund her militia. Her lawyer has countered the charges by trying to paint Raul Flores as a drug dealer, but police were unable to find anything other than marijuana residue in his trailer. Forde maintains her innocence even though eye witnesses place her at the crime.

The trial begins just weeks after the horrific murder of Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year old girl killed during the attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, which continues to cause outrage and get media attention. Many Latinos in the community are wondering why Brisenia's murder hasn't stoked the same outrage or national outcry that Green's has.

Phoenix-based radio talk-show host Carlos Galindo says that he talks about Brisenia's murder at least two or three times a week in the hopes of keeping her memory alive and sparking an outcry. “This was a horrible, tragic, and absolutely race-based coldblooded murder,” he says, “and we allowed the far right to muddy it up and say her dad was a drug dealer and Brisenia was collateral damage. When we don’t counter that, we allow continued violence against all Arizonans.”

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About this author

Mariela Rosario,

I'm a raging opinionista and I love to share my ramblings on everything from pop culture to food to stuff that makes me laugh & cry! I've worked in all types of media (TV, film, print) and was previously the online editor at Latina magazine before joining Mamás Latinas. On most nights you can find me working my way through my library of cookbooks or playing with my puppy Lola (my only child so far). I have a wonderful hubby who shares my passion for any and all kinds of travel. Together, we've formed a semi-professional wine drinking team.

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