At the Courthouse: Extra details on Forde trial

2011-01-26T08:55:00Z 2011-01-26T09:21:22Z At the Courthouse: Extra details on Forde trialBy Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
January 26, 2011 8:55 am  • 

Sometimes details get left out of stories simply because of limited space.

Here are some that were revealed during the first day in the death penalty trial of Shawna Forde:

Gina Gonzalez, whose husband and daughter were killed by a tall, white man who invaded her home with three others, testified Tuesday.

She said she and Raul Junior Flores were married about 13 years and had two daughters together, Alexandra and Brisenia. 

The day before the slayings, Gonzalez said she and Brisenia were out in their yard looking for some missing car keys when a teal minivan drove by very slowly.

The woman inside reluctantly waved at her when she waved at the van, Gonzalez said. 

She'd never seen the van before and she knows just about everyone in town from working at The Mercantile, Gonzalez said.

The incident was so odd, she mentioned it to detectives and they later found the van at suspect Albert Gaxiola's house, with Jason Bush's blood in it. (They, too, are charged in the case and will be going on trial within the next five months.)

Gonzalez said they drove to Tucson to buy shoes for Brisenia that day because she was to start summer school soon. Her eldest daughter and Brisenia took turns staying with their Nana in Sahaurita and that night it was Alexandra's turn, she said.

Brisenia slept on the couch the night she died because Gonzalez said she'd just changed her daughter's sheets and she didn't want their new dog to get them dirty. (Brisenia insisted on sleeping with the dog that night. In her 911 call, Gonzalez says she thinks the dogs were outside when the shooting started.)

She told jurors the tall man was wearing black face paint and had an odd hairline. He looked "kinda confused, kinda weird," she said.

The short, fat white woman was "mean," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez testified she was shot in the right shoulder and in the right thigh. The first bullet exited the bottom of her right breast and the second one broke her femur. (A fact she discovered when she tried to stand up and went to get a gun after the initial round of gunfire.) She now has a metal rod extending from her hip to her knee. 

The jewelry stolen from her home that night (and later found in Forde's possession) was stuff she rarely wore: a belt buckle she'd had since she was 17, her wedding ring, earrings belonging to her late mother-in-law, etc.

The belt buckle had a "G" on it for her name and she was able to show detectives she had a bracelet matching one of the necklaces that was recovered.

Gonzalez testified she saw Gaxiola in her house that night, but she did NOT see Oin Oakstar or his girlfriend, Sandy Stroup. She explained she knows who Oakstar is from The Mercantile and has known Stroup for years.

There has been some speculation that Oakstar and Stroup were both involved in the home invasion.

Oakstar admits planning Flores' death to get rid of a drug competitor, but says he backed out when he heard it was going to go down during a home invasion. He wanted to take him out into the desert to kill him.

He's testifying as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Stroup apparently matches the description of the short, stocky, white woman who came into the house that night so she's considered an alternate suspect to Forde.

Gonzalez testified Flores hated Gaxiola because he kept stashing pot on their property. When asked if it was true she knew her husband made money running drugs, she said "No."

She told jurors she's only been back to her house three or four times since the shootings. 

 

 

 

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