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Arizona Jury Hands Second Nativist Murderer a Death Sentence

By Ryan Lenz on April 7, 2011 - 11:27 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime

An Arizona jury has handed down a second death sentence in the murder of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter, who were targeted by border vigilantes two years ago as part of a plot to steal money and fund an increasingly militant operation against immigrants along the border.

Jason Bush was sentenced to death Wednesday, a month after being convicted of murdering Raul Junior Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia Flores. Bush, known as “Gunny,” was part of Minutemen American Defense, founded by Shawna Forde.

Led by Forde, Bush and another man, Albert Gaxiola, went into the Flores home in Arivaca, about 50 miles southwest of Tucson, believing that Flores was a drug dealer and would have plenty of cash on hand. Prosecutors charged that Bush was the gunman who shot Flores dead before shooting his wife in the leg. He then walked over to Brisenia, who was sleeping with her puppy on the couch, and shot her twice in the head at close range.

The grisly murders exposed the nastier underbelly of the nativist movement on the border.

Bush has ties to several white supremacist groups, and Forde routinely hobnobbed with many of the movement’s more radical leaders. For example, J.T. Ready, the neo-Nazi founder of numerous border vigilante groups, defended Forde after her murder arrest in 2009 by writing, “I would like to personally thank Shawna Forde for doing the job the U.S. government won’t do itself. … Instead of getting locks and cold steel bars, Shawna should be presented the key to the city where she took out the trash.”

Forde was convicted on Feb. 14 of two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for the May 30, 2009, killings. She also was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated robbery, armed robbery and burglary. A jury gave her the death sentence on Feb. 22.

Gaxiola will be tried in June. Prosecutors have said they again plan to seek the death penalty.

  • Margo Schulter

    How tragic that when I might simply have read of a sentence of life without parole and joined others in applauding a measure of justice for a horrible crime, I must instead point out that the death penalty is itself a hate crime and act of dehumanization, an act of legal lynching from which friends of peace and tolerance should dissociate themselves in the strongest terms. Sadly, the same principles leading me to denounce the crime compel me to denounce the crime of a cruel and unusual punishment, where life without parole with labor and restitution would impose a stern but merciful accountability.

  • majii

    Concerned Citizen: FYI, Arizona is one of the “reddest” states in the country, except for a few oases of “blue,” so a logical conclusion to draw might be that the jury was composed of some left and right leaning individuals. I would hope, though, that the jury decided the case based on the evidence presented at the trial. Justice is supposed to be blind, meaning that it should be free of politics and based on evidence and existing laws. IMO, anyone who would kill a young child and her dad for no reason should be found guilty, and the race of the perpetrator and/or victims doesn’t matter.

  • Sam Molloy

    My point is, these guys, if they’re like everybody else that hits the newspapers, had a rap sheet a mile long, and why were they even loose? And no I don’t know what to do with deadbeat dads. What does France do? Or Brazil?

  • Sam Molloy

    The US has 5 per cent of the world’s population and 25 per cent of it’s prisoners, according to an article in UTNE magazine. Even if you dispute these exact figures there’s a problem somewhere. Catch and release does not work with violent or predatory people, and doing it to make room for pot smokers and child support scofflaws is an outrage. Budget cuts for new prisons is an idea whose time has come.

  • Jonas Rand

    Well, I think it’s quite apparent that I don’t agree with that “solution” either, since it doesn’t prevent the occurrence crime in those countries any more than it does here. In a totalitarian dictatorship, where fear is entrenched in the populace, it may work to prevent crime, but then there is always the problem of corrupt officials taking bribes from criminals in exchange for not punishing them, so even that is not faultless.

  • http://yahoo ruben

    jonas….let me put it this way!….these people got what they deserve PERIOD!!…..you cannot defend the cold blooded murder of a child simply because of the COLOR OF HER SKIN!! these people acted in the most primeval and barbaric way that a human can behave….if you have sympathy for them that is your choice,but as far as i am concerned justice was served!

  • Ian

    Jonas,

    “[T]o Ian, I don’t think wasting money on highfalutin prison infrastructure in underdeveloped countries is the answer[...]”

    I agree. I said the death penalty “may be the right policy in societies that do not have the technology to lock people up with little chance of escape”.

  • Jonas Rand

    @ruben That’s contradictory. You can’t “not advocate killing human beings” and then advocate this killing of a human being. This means that, in actuality, you do advocate killing human beings (capital punishment), in extreme cases of crime (in this case, child murder). There’s nothing wrong with having such a view, but don’t claim that you do “not advocate killing human beings”. Ditto for the rest of you.

  • Jonas Rand

    Actually, apart from many anti-death penalty people (who simply prefer life imprisonment as a solution), I’m against the prison system as well. The psychological conditions seem to encourage recidivism, or at least mental degradation. And to Ian, I don’t think wasting money on highfalutin prison infrastructure in underdeveloped countries is the answer (but improvements in living conditions should be implenented), because those nations’ governments have obligations to improve public welfare before fortifying the prison-industrial complex.

  • Jonas Rand

    First, I never called any culture “barbaric”, or any person a “barbarian”, but I called a practice (namely, state-sanctioned murder) barbaric. There is a difference, and I called it barbaric because it should have been phased out long ago and it is very violent.

    Secondly, it is not self-defense because the act worthy of the death penalty was not committed against the executioner. It is, therefore, not a reaction by a victim against some violent act done to them (i.e., self-defense), to prevent further violence (like hitting back in a fistfight). It is a violation of the right to life, a right that is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (ratified in San Francisco). There is no “revocation” clause, neither in the US Constitution nor in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for the right to life. The US is an OUTLAW STATE for having such a punishment, because of the UDHR.

    When I said the death penalty doesn’t work, I meant that it does not “send a message” to other future offenders. It isn’t applied all the time. Killing McVeigh did stop McVeigh (not that he had any chance of bombing another government building from prison – his execution had nothing to do with possible recidivism), but not others who wanted do the same thing.

    Also, we don’t live in a democracy in the USA, nor is it guaranteed that any country that has the death penalty is a democracy. Cases in point: Libya, Saudi Arabia. What Americans voted to have a war in Afghanistan, for example? None. Bush chose to wage it on his whim and caprice, which is not a democratic action. The US is an imperialist plutocracy, run by the wealthy and international business conglomerates based in first world countries. The role of the corporate controlled media in shaping (or rather, malforming) our “democracy” cannot be discounted, either. So, I wouldn’t call this country “democratic”, or equivocate the state with the populace.

    Aggression is surely a problem in American society and culture, but there is no reason to take a person’s life because they are aggressive (or, in Saudi Arabia, because they were a practitioner of “witchcraft”). That itself is an act of aggression.

    It isn’t right that, to prevent escape, the death penalty is the ideal solution. For one, what about rehabilitation? I know about the old tried-and-true belief that murderers can’t be rehabilitated, but nothing can be applicable in all cases, anytime (that’s totality). As for recidivism, the brutal prison system itself compels people toward it, and prison does a good job of not allowing prisoners to murder people in the general public.

    In short, execution expresses a rejection of compassion for human beings by the government (not that it’s compassionate anyway), and there’s no reason to do so other than moral outrage, because it doesn’t stop crime.

  • ruben

    i do not advocate killing human beings but in this case justice was served…anyone who executes a child point blank is subhuman and does not deserve to be kept alive at tax payers expense….these barbaric people have zero place in any civilized society.

  • Ian

    Jordan,

    One could ask the same rhetorical question about Charles Manson, the Unabomber, or other murderers in prison. The death penalty may be the right policy in societies that do not have the technology to lock people up with little chance of escape, but the United States in the 21st Century does not have that excuse.

  • Concerned Citizen

    I think capital punishment should be used in certain situations. Considering that a lot of people are getting life w/o parole. Was this man singled out because of the leftist pressure in Arizona? Possibily. we will never know.. In the end. This gentleman could have his sentence appealed and given life w/o parold instead.

  • Sam Molloy

    No, Jordan, you’re right as rain, sometimes you do have to meet force with force. It’s the ones on the fence, the vast majority, that can defend us as people or look the other way when we’re attacked, that we can influence.

  • Jordan

    Jonas,
    “Death sentence is a barbaric means of punishment…” Barbaric, define. Every culture on Earth has called every other barbaric (the Europeans were “barbarians” to the Chinese, the Chinese were “barbarians” to the Europeans, the Native Americans were “barbarians” to the Europeans,…)
    Ian,
    “Capital punishment does not work. Period.” So, how many people did McVeigh kill after his execution? Ohh, that’s right, none, he was dead. Yeah, it works, you can’t harm our society any further once you’re dead, If the point of the criminal justice system was to stop crime by making examples of people than we would need a system of punishment far more violent than “capital” (try Inquisitorial), the point of the moderm criminal justice system is to protect society from those who would harm it by endangering the rights of others (chief among those being the right to live). When one takes another’s right to live without just cause (self defence), one has revoked one’s own right, one can be placed in prison for life, yet their is no such thing as a completely inescapable prison, their is still the slightest chance that they could do harm to the people of our society. No one can escape a lethal injection of sodium theopental.
    “One should not be executed – that means the state is able to determine who, among its subjects, will live or die.” Democracy=government by the people, “the state”=the people, “subjects”=citizens=the people so:
    “One should not be executed – that means [the people are] able to determine who, among [themselves], will live or die.” And not at random either, a strict set of guidlines known as “laws” determine when the right to live has been nullified by one citizens detrimental actions (usually murder) towards another. Among the nations in which the citizenry have decided that no circumstance nullifies ones right to live, the only change is the foreseable one, they have more life-sentence prisoners. We like to think that force of will can change our behavior, and we’re usually right, but in the case of such basic things as aggression and violence we are finding that something far more concrete guides our species, DNA. So the best we can do is control our aggression, guide it, steer it, use it for things which better our society, it is up to geneticists to fix the problems with human nature, no amount of social change can ever do that.

  • Jordan

    “We’ll all get more results trying to calm these people’s fears than threatening them with violence.” So, how exactly does one calm the fears of a supremecist (seeing as how they fear that we are “too equal”)? Please explain how German Jews could have “calmed” the Nazi’s fears? The only thing that calms a bigot is knowing that they are superior to some other group, As for the child killer, the reason doesn’t matter, they took the life of an innocent, their aggression is a danger to our society. For the safety of our society and in repayment for their crimes, they pay with their lives.

  • Reynardine

    The death penalty, like amputation, should be used in only the most extreme cases, but sometimes it is called for. The kind of people who would hunt down a peaceful family in their own home and murder a sleeping child, all because of color or surname or language, are better off in the earth than on it.

  • Shadow Wolf

    @Marisa,
    I don’t recall the neo-Nazi J.T. Ready ever “running for office”. However, on the side note, he was once a lower committeeman for the Republican Party. He got booted off the council, probably based on the fact that he was caught passing out fliers containing extremist ideals, which the Republicans quickly denounced, except for his mentor/tutor–Russell Pearce.

    J.T. Ready is still active and is said to be running around gung-ho with the local LEOs, most notoriously with Sheriff Paul Babeu of Pinal County, and patrolling the Vekol Valley. Its a sham.

  • Sam Molloy

    Max, hatred, like addictions, is always caused by fear. Hence the term XenoPHOBIA and HomoPHOBIA. We’ll all get more results trying to calm these people’s fears than threatening them with violence. To protect yourself and your family from immediate harm there is still responsible gun ownership in most of America. But it’s not for hotheads, they’ll just get in trouble.

  • Sam Molloy

    I agree, Max, but there’s a whole lot more POS’s out there. Something to encourage you: XenoPHOBIA, any phobia, is a fear, technically, causing the hate, and some POS’s could be retrained through education.

  • Jonas Rand

    THINKWORLDPEACE, Maximilián, Concerned Citizen, et al. – capital punishment is not justice. It is injustice. Now, there would be an outcry if the killers were given a lighter sentence than life (possibly with parole?) in prison, and justifiably so, because of the murderers who were given heavy sentences. But I say that the death penalty should not only be “equally applied” to killers whose victims are white and the murderers whose victims are minorities, it should be completely abolished. And to THINKWORLDPEACE, your screen name sounds ironic considering that comment. World peace won’t come about through state-sanctioned murder.

  • MAXIMILLIAN GUTIERREZ

    Delighted To Hear This ‘P.O.S’ is getting what He DESERVES…Murdering 9 Yr. old Brisenia and Her FATHER – Raul Flores – for no other reason than to Promulgate their Bigotry and HATRED of LATINOS and Immigrants…Two Down-One more P.O.S. to GO!!!

  • Concerned Citizen

    It’s nice to know that a jury sentences a white man for killing two Latinos. Was the jury pressured to to give man a death sentence or was it fair? I have no problem with the death as long is it meted out fairly according to the actual crime and not for some political expediency. If capital punishment was applied more often, in time, the murder rate will drop. I say put it on live TV. Let the guilty see what happens to them if they kill somebody.

  • Sam Molloy

    Capital punishment sometimes works as a deterrent and makes sure the perp stops criminal activity, unlike current catch and release policies. The only problem is that sometimes evidence comes out later that clears the name on the tombstone of any wrongdoing

  • Ian

    The execution of McVeigh did not stop anti-government violence. There is no evidence this death with stop anti-immigrant violence.

    Capital punishment does not work. Period.

  • Jonas Rand

    Marisa – then you do believe in capital punishment, just as long as it’s not served to those you dislike.

    Death sentence is a barbaric means of punishment typically reserved for totalitarian states.One should not be executed – that means the state is able to determine who, among its subjects, will live or die.

    The government is the enforcer of these racist “immigration policies” – and is therefore complicit in encouraging fascist harassment.

  • Beverly Kurtin

    Killing a 9 year old sleeping girl. What heroes.

    This country needs to be cleansed from sub-humans like that.,

  • Janbytheshore

    Some small measure of justice for the family of the murdered. Frankly, while I cringe at the death penalty, I’m glad no one’s tax dollars will be feeding these hooligans “three squares” for the rest of their natural lives.

  • buz thompsom

    As Stonewall said of the yankees “killum”, “killum all”. Now do you feel better?

  • Sgt retired

    Chelene Nightingale’s other buddy! Hang your head in shame Nightingale!!!

  • THINKWORLDPEACE

    JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. Thank you.

  • Marisa

    Although I don’t believe in capital punishment, these murderers certainly DESERVE it, and so will Gaxiola, when convicted. I remember when J.T. Ready was running for office in Arizona – he was an extremist right-wing nutcase and a dirty joke then and obviously, still qualifies for that description.