The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Accused Nativist Murderer Finds Few Allies in Movement

By Sonia Scherr on June 23, 2009 - 11:34 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Nativist leaders are scrambling to distance themselves from Minutemen American Defense (MAD) founder Shawna Forde, who has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of an Arizona man and his 9-year-old daughter.

“We knew there was something very wrong with Shawna Forde and did all in our power to forewarn groups and leaders, as well as press and law enforcement, regarding our concerns,” wrote William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), in a news release. “Shawna Forde does not reflect the immigration enforcement movement or the millions of Americans concerned about illegal immigration and border security.”

Among those releasing similar statements were Chris Simcox, former president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, Jeff Schwilk, leader of the San Diego Minutemen, and Chelene Nightingale, managing director of Save Our State. Police say Forde and two associates used a ruse to enter the home of 29-year-old Raul Flores on May 30 with the intent of killing his family and stealing cash to finance her group’s border operations. Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, were shot and killed. His wife was wounded when she returned fire.

Anti-immigration activists are just as forcefully repudiating Minuteman Project president Jim Gilchrist, who was allied with Forde. Gheen called for Gilchrist’s resignation both in his news release and — much less politely — in an E-mail to Gilchrist that’s posted in the “Hate Mail” section of the Minuteman Project’s website. “Jim, you [sic] and Shawna’s close and vibrant relationship is well documented in many different places,” he wrote. “Do the movement and yourself a favor and announce your resignation …”

Gilchrist’s response, also posted on his website, is addressed to the “self-acclaimed [sic] Messiah William Gheen of ALIPAC.” “As much as you would like me to resign from the movement to bring law enforcement back to our immigration laws, I must politely decline,” he wrote. “If I were to abandon the movement to encourage our political governors to enforce our immigration laws, then that task might be left for unstable and socially-challenged idiots like you. And then what kind of mess would we be in?”

In an E-mail titled “Jim Gilchrist Exposed!!!!” on the Minuteman Project’s website, Nightingale, the Save Our State official, wrote that “patriots” were incensed at Gilchrist’s group because it supported Forde. “As a mother I am sick to death that a little child was murdered!” she wrote. “Murdered at the hands of people that were endorsed on the Jim Gilchrist MMP site. Wasn’t it bad enough that your forum is a sewer full of lies and bashing of patriots? Or are each of you being paid by say the SPLC, La Raza to destroy the movement with your filth and personal connections?”

In his response, Gilchrist asserted that Save Our State’s allies included the Mountain Minutemen, whose leader in 2007 produced a faked video that appeared to show an undocumented immigrant being shot at the border. “Your unwarranted wrath is all about sour grapes, Ms. Nightingale,” Gilchrist wrote. “If you are going to be a crackpot, Ms. Nightingale, please be thorough about it.”

Gilchrist defended Forde this winter after other nativist leaders expressed doubt about her claims that she’d been raped, beaten and shot in a bizarre series of incidents in and near her Everett, Wash., home. The Everett Herald reported that police have dropped the investigation of the reported rape, citing a lack of evidence.


  • sandra

    I have known Chelene Nightingale who is running for governor 2010….she was a rabid radical always wanting to go after immigrants. Now i read she is going after the Government about 9-11…She really is mentally unstable and she can’t hide it much longer…she has lost the last screws that held together any sanity. Just read her websites and blogs she writes. She hangs around with questionable people. What a horrible joke her running for governor of california…”really???” lol

  • mark miller

    The AIP has been very radical in their be recognized. Staging protests to forums that refuse their candidate. Chelene Nightingale for governor campaign has been using dirty tricks and harassment to push their obscure candidate. Donations are at below 5k… Its being reported that the money is used for this bunch to actually “live” on as they are under employed and unemployed.
    I would advise all to steer clear of this opportunist bunch of wacko’s. Their scream of “freedom” is just a ruse to catch the gullible. This is a slick con game. Beware!

  • Sam Wyler

    fraud Chelene Nightingale for governor 2010 bunch are a disgrace! They panhandle for money for this bogus venture…The unemployed radical has found yet another ruse to dupe people out of their time and money. She stands on corners ranting waving signs in the hope that someone…anyone will recognize her as a human being. She is in dire need of mental evaluation. Steer clear.

  • mountaingirl08

    The Minutemen are distancing themselves from Forde. I am sorry but that’s not possible. Birds of a feather flock together.

  • Gary Braeshere

    Yeah, whatever beholder. And groups like the SPLC attract communists, rabid socialists, marxists and liberal extremists.

  • beholder

    The ideological bond between less extreme and more extreme is apparent (to me at least). I hope the less extreme members of the nativist movement will recognize that whenever you have neonazis wanting to join, that something has to be fundamentally flawed with the goal. Unfortunately, I think these groups don’t think much about it, and say oh great, here is another guy with a gun ready to be a vigilante, let’s get to it.

  • Vicente Duque

    Two Politicians that were friendly with the Minutemen were Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee

    Tom Tancredo and Mike Huckabee, former presidential candidates and great friends of Jim Gilchrist and the Minutemen, pandering to these vigilantes, fawning over these racist extremists in order to get votes.

    While George W. Bush said that the Minutemen were “Vigilantes” and repudiated them, these two politicians Tom and Mike were not so intelligent, not so smart, now they must pay the price of Error..

    Jim Gilchrist presented in Television by Lou Dobbs as a Great Intellect, and a Great Author.

    These Politicians, friends of the Minutemen, are the same guys that have smeared Mr Obama many times, using the trick of “Guilty by Association”

    Vicente Duque

  • Carter

    This is actually an important illustration. People can have very different perspectives on subjects of political and social elements and still have a basic conceptualization of right & wrong. They can disagree rabidly over political subjects and have common bond regarding the majority of social morals.
    I am NOT saying that some anti-illegal immigration folks have taken the steps forward to a racist idology. I am not saying that illegal immigration is the same as legal immiragtion either. However there are common bonds that the majority of people can agree upon. That is the area where meaningful dialog can begin.
    There has been racism & corruption on the Left as well as Right. Lately many mistakes have been embraced by the Right. However that does not obfuscate the Tamminy Hall, Lyndon Johnson mistakes & corruption.
    I think once two parties can acknowledge their own short comings, there exists a more positive ground for compromise & progress.
    When people believe that their method of looking at the world is correct in it’s entirety, that is where little progress can be made for empathy & compassion. I readily admit that there are some people that cannot be swayed by anything remotely resembling empathy & are beyond the pail but these are the fringes of political thought. Most people simply want to get along and live their lives in harmony.