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

Confession Reported in Nativist Murder Case, Along With Another Round of Infighting

By Sonia Scherr on July 11, 2009 - 1:27 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime

A leader of Shawna Forde’s nativist extremist group acknowledged that he killed an Arizona man and his daughter, according to two Arizona newspapers.

Jason Eugene “Gunny” Bush confessed to the May 30 shootings shortly after his arrest two weeks later, according to reports this week in the Arizona Daily Star and the Green Valley News. He also reportedly named additional suspects besides Forde and Albert Gaxiola, who have also been charged in connection with the homicides. Despite his confession, Bush — along with Forde and Gaxiola — pleaded not guilty on June 30.

Forde is accused of masterminding the murders of Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia. Police say she wanted to steal money from the Flores family to help finance her border patrol group, Minutemen American Defense (MAD).

Her arrest sparked major infighting within nativist circles that has escalated in the past two weeks. In an effort to distance themselves from Forde, anti-immigrant leaders are lobbing numerous accusations and counter-accusations at each other that often devolve into harsh personal attacks.

In a July 2 advisory to his supporters, William Gheen, leader of the North Carolina-based Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said he’d added Glenn Spencer’s American Patrol (which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group) to a list of organizations that activists should avoid. The list already included Jim Gilchrist’s Minuteman Project, which had defended Forde after she claimed to have been the victim of shootings and assaults in and near her home in Everett, Wash. “Both Gilchrist and Spencer have been highly negligent in who they have associated themselves and their organizations with by supporting and assisting Shawna Forde long after it was clear to many others that she should be cast out of our movement,” Gheen wrote.

Partly in response to this advisory, Spencer’s office manager, Melissa Jaramillo, wrote an open letter to Gheen that was also sent to the Long Island Wins blog. “There must be something wrong with you, as your vicious and continued attacks against others fighting for the same cause is nothing but destructive for the movement and they make you look obsessed,” she wrote. “That’s it, you’re obsessed with the destruction of anyone who does not bend to your will. God, I hope you don’t have a wife or children — especially teenagers because they have a mind of their own.” Jaramillo also suggested that Gheen had indirectly contributed to Forde’s troubles. “You created a movement for everyone to show hatred towards her. What did you expect would happen after you were done ‘ruining her’ and made sure that not just the opposition hated her but those within the movement hated her as well. You really gave her nothing to live for.”

In response to an earlier post from Gheen, Spencer denied that ALIPAC had warned him about Forde and said he didn’t need any such warning. Because of her odd behavior, Spencer said, he’d barred her from the American Border Patrol ranch after she made three visits there in 2008. (Forde was arrested near Spencer’s home in connection with the murders. Spencer said he let her inside after she showed up uninvited and asked to work on her laptop.)  In a June 29 posting on his website, Spencer wrote: “The idea that I would put the reputation of American Border Patrol at risk by assisting someone that I knew to be unstable is outrageous and slanderous. Gheen says I ‘continued to assist her.’ What nonsense! By making these totally false accusations with no evidence whatsoever to back them up, Mr. Gheen has proven himself to be unprofessional and exploitative of the problem of unfortunate people like Shawna Forde. He is doing this to make money by tearing his ‘competitors’ down, pure and simple.

“There is really only one way to deal with people like Mr. Gheen and it is not to mince words. To wit: Wm. Gheen is an idiot.”

Gilchrist, the other major target of Gheen’s diatribes, said several nativist groups including Gheen’s share blame for Forde’s actions. “While not directly responsible for the criminal behavior of Shawna Forde and her partners in crime, ALIPAC, Chelene Nightingale [former head of Save Our State, which SPLC also lists as a hate group], and Jeff Schwilk [leader of the hard-line San Diego Minutemen] are responsible for adding fuel to her apparent already unstable mental condition, in my opinion. Relentless attacks by you three via the Internet upon her character may very well have fueled her anger to the point of no return.”

And on his website discussion forum, Gheen posted an insult-laden July 2 E-mail exchange between Chuck Stonex, who resigned from MAD after Forde’s arrest, and Schwilk. “From now on, the radical psychopaths like you and your demi-God Gilchrist and your lust object Shawna will be dealt with much more harshly,” wrote Schwilk, who is particularly given to hurling unkind words. “Just go away before you do any more damage to our country and our cause.”

Stonex responded: “‘IF’ this cowardly act had been planned by me and Gilchrist, the attack would of [sic] been at your house or in North Carolina for the good of America. NOT on an innocent family in Arivaca, Arizona.”

But it’s not all mudslinging in the nativist movement. Gilchrist announced last week that he’d awarded the first Fourth of July Minuteman-of-the-Year award to Spencer for “[leading] the debate on illegal immigration.”

We’re glad someone’s feeling the love.

  • mountaingirl08

    “Spineless”? Is that Michael Steele’s screen name?
    So thousands of illegals are committing zillions of crimes and those who don’t agree w. the thinking of the Minutemen or Montana Freedman or KKK or Flat Earthers are in collusion w. illegal gangbangers or whatever? I don’t agree w. their thinking of know-nothing, hate obsessed politics and that makes lilttle ole me some sort of “coyote”? (Actually, I’m a “cougar”, but that’s for another day.)
    I don’t think so.

  • mountaingirl08

    The Minutemen have been around longer than I have, I believe. They have always been referred to as a fringe group or an extremist group. Only since the Far Right became “respectable” (say what?! . .) due to the machinations of Far Right politicians and apologists and nativists and their drive to insinuate themselves into the mainstream of American politics. Of course, since at least the Clinton years, the “base” has hijacked the GOP. The height of the politifcal power of the extremist elements of the party, including the old Dixiecrat faction, was, of course, during the reign, er, administration of George II. The carnage of the ’06 and ’08 elections have not silenced the endless yapping of such groups. The Republicans still have not appeared to realilze that they must move toward the center of the political spectrum or they will find themselves stumbling around in a wilderness of their own making. The Party leadership is going to have to disavow mean-spirited and hate-filled louts like Limbaugh and Coulter. Or is that leadership a bunch of weenies?

  • Mark

    LOL, this sounds like the National Enquire, or Entertainment Tonight.

  • Don Quixote

    Gheen, the only way for your little enterprise to thrive is through your bald-faced lies and anti-immigrant propaganda. No academic or governmental study supports your thesis that “illegal” immigrants are criminal prone. Statistically, the people that threaten the average American the most are fellow citizens who look, speak and act just like you.

    You have blood on your hands everytime a hate crime like this is committed against an immigrant. Your hateful and deceitful rhetoric and propaganda are what Homeland Security recently warned about as being the biggest threat to our national security.

    You are a hypocrite too. You freely post here at SPLC and other organizations who give you a forum to express your lies, but when I tried to disagree with ALIPAC members on your site, I was banned for life. And this was for a fairly innocuous post that met your posting guidelines.

    In addition to being a racist liar, you apparently espouse fascist views too. Why not allow dissent on your own blogs?

  • Marisa

    Let’s just hope all of these idiots SELF-DESTRUCT.

  • kate

    Unfortunately, this is just a small blip in the road for these people. Most of the supporters of these hate groups have little concern or sense of embarrassment regarding the reprehensible behavior of their fellow supporters.

    Afterall, these are people who have no ability to comprehend complex issues. As a result, these hate movements offer a balm to salve the wound of their continual sense of alienation from a world they cannot comprehend nor participate in in a meaningful way.

    Their social alienation breeds a sort of narcissism which lends to such exchanges with anyone and anything they perceive in the way of their happiness. That innocent people are killed due to their ignorance, that the larger problems they suffer from don’t get resolved, is really of little importance in the long run.

    As long as in the moment, somehow, whether at the trigger of a gun, the end of a bullhorn or at a Cheetoh encrusted keyboard, they feel like a king for a day.

  • SDMM

    Wrong again SPLC. You can’t “infight” with people outside our movement (Gilchrist and clan). Its called cleansing the movement and we’ve done an outstanding job of that over the past 4 years (ZERO violent incidents inside our movement).

    Gilchrist and Forde have been listed on our website as outsiders since last year. They are criminals trying to use our good Minuteman name as cover for their crimes and their reckless, rogue behavior. They failed. Forde has been exposed as having had to recruit her white supremacist friends for her border crimes. Real Minutemen were not involved.

    The anti-ILLEGAL immigration movement is stronger than ever and we will continue to police our own to keep out radical idiots like Gilchrist and Forde.

  • William Gheen

    It is good that many pro enforcement groups have the character to stand up against what Shawna Forde did and those that helped her on the enforcement side of the immigration debate.

    It is a shame that those of you supporting illegal immigration and amnesty for illegals do not have the character or spine to speak out against the thousands of murders perpatrated by illegal aliens each year against Americans thanks to your political work.

  • beholder

    We must relentlessly pursue the philosophical nexus between this heinous criminals and the movement that inspired them. Any attempt to distance them from the border vigilantes that once called them brethren should be seen for what it is, a sham. The mask has been lifted on the nativist movement and its visage is horror.

  • Don Quixote

    Nothing more entertaining than watching haters hate on each other. Those predisposed to hate don’t discriminate I suppose. Any “Other” will do, including even those who hate the same people (e.g. brown-skinned immigrants) but in a manner that differs in some way. It’s the love for hate that drives them. I love it when their inner conflicts come to light like this. It’s really quite revealing about what makes people like this tick.

  • Ted Hesson

    Here’s the link to the Long Island Wins post that’s mentioned above.

    Our blogger Pat Young has been following the Shawna Forde fallout quite closely

  • HIllbillie Sam

    Oh Lord, and all the while Chris Simcox gets to sit back and chuckle as Gilchrist, Spencer and Gheen rip each other to shreds…….all the while Simcox makes claims to not be associated with Forde either. Anyone want to touch Simcox? There is a picture of Simcox and Forde hugging each other, it was taken in Palominas AZ Spring of 2008 during one of MADs operations. The picture used to be on the MAD website….maybe Stontex or Gilchrist has a copy?

    Regardless, it was Simcox who made claims in 2004 that we should shoot Mexicans coming across the border…..from his mouth…..those are the words that feed many people like Forde and others within MCDC and the borderwatch groups.

    Whats left within the Minuteman movements? Right Wing hatred. Racism. Knuckleheads that believe 911 was an inside job. True vigilantes who are looking for trouble….thats whats left. There is no more MCDC, no more Minuteman Project…..they died in early 2007. The volunteers who were intelegent, who were moderate in their politics, the volunteers who stood a post on the border in protest of Americas failed border policies have all left the movement……have all moved on, have refused to continue further with a movement that refused to be transparent, refused to operate as a ‘body’, and refused to be forced to sit next to ego-power-driven ‘leaders’ such as Chris Simcox or Jim Gilchrist. The Minutemen Volunteers no longer exist. What is left is a rag-tag group of border-junkies with no direction, no plan, no future, no support money and no leaders.

    While Minuteman Forde pulled off a home invasion and two murders, other Minutemen are raking in donations by highlighting a Minuteman Fence that they are building……..or not building…….you can see that clearly at Nobody has touched the Minuteman Fence in over 2 years. Minuteman groups have not published financial records for the inbound donations over a period of 3 years……it appears to be theft. So, whether its theft, false advertisement, false public statements, openly condoning murdering border crossers, home invasions or flat out murder………the Minutemen have a place right at home for you.

    In the old days, lawmen in the American West had solutions to these types of people……..long ropes, tall trees and fast horses.

  • Gustavo Arellano

    You forgot this Gheen exchange with CCIR head Barbara Coe: