Arivaca slaying trial begins

Gunman killed man, reloaded calmly, shot girl, 9, mom testifies
2011-01-26T00:00:00Z 2012-07-13T15:37:28Z Arivaca slaying trial beginsKim Smith Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 26, 2011 12:00 am  • 

In her final moments, 9-year-old Brisenia Flores saw the bloodied bodies of her parents in the living room of their Arivaca home and begged the gunman not to kill her, too, as he calmly reloaded.

Despite reassuring the sobbing girl, "No one's going to hurt you," the man fired twice and Brisenia, like her father, fell dead.

Her wounded mother, Gina Gonzalez, who was playing dead on the floor, told this story to jurors in the first day of the first-degree murder trial Shawna Forde, accused leading the fatal raid on May 30, 2009.

Gonzalez said when the tall white man, who claimed he was a cop looking for fugitives, came into her house and set a duct-taped gun down on her guinea pig's cage, she realized something wasn't right. So did her husband, Raul Junior Flores.

When Flores asked the man why he and the short, stocky white woman with him hadn't shown them badges and why one of his two guns was duct-taped, the response was swift.

"The guy looks at Junior and says, 'Don't take this personally, but this bullet has your name on it," Gonzalez recalled Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court.

Wiping tears from her eyes, Gonzalez said when the gunman turned and shot her, the wounded Flores pleaded with the man to stop.

"He turns around and shoots Junior some more," Gonzalez said.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Kellie Johnson told jurors during opening statements that the evidence will show Forde, 43, a Washington resident, recruited a group of men to rob and kill Flores because she suspected he was in the drug trade and she needed money to fund her Minuteman border-protection group.

If convicted, Forde could receive the death penalty. Two co-defendants, Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola, are to be tried in March and June, respectively.

Shot in the shoulder and thigh, Gonzalez said, she listened to her husband's dying breaths. She knew if the gunman saw her quivering body he would finish her off, and she needed desperately to stay alive to help Brisenia, who until that point had been sleeping on the couch.

As she lay there, Gonzalez said, she heard two men come in, speaking Spanish.

One asked where the other daughter is.

The gunman turned to Brisenia.

"Brisenia's crying and asking, 'Why did you shoot my dad?' " Gonzalez remembered. "He tells her it's going to be OK. 'No one's going to hurt you,' but she keeps asking, 'Why did you shoot my dad?' "

The gunman kept asking Brisenia where her sister was, Gonzalez said.

When Brisenia realized her mother has been shot, too, she wants to know why, Gonzalez said. Upon hearing the couple's other daughter is at her grandmother's house, he also asked where she lives.

"He's out of bullets because he used them all on Junior and me," Gonzalez said. "He stands there and loads the gun right in front of her. I can hear her say, 'Please don't shoot me.'"

Then, one gunshot. Followed by another.

She saw her daughter fly back, Gonzalez recalled tearfully.

As all of this is going on, Gonzalez said, the woman is in her bedroom rifling through drawers, and the two Spanish-speaking men are ransacking the rest of the house. She recalls hearing the men talking about money and drugs.

They realize there are no drugs in the house around the same time the woman tells them they have to leave because the person on the other end of her walkie-talkie says someone is coming.

After they left, Gonzalez grabbed her daughter.

"She was shaking like crazy and I was telling her not to die on me," Gonzalez said.

She placed Brisenia on her side to prevent her from choking on her blood and called 911.

Seconds later, the woman walked back in with a smile on her face and saw she was still alive, Gonzalez said. "She went back outside and told the guy he needed to finish me off, that I wasn't dead."

Gonzalez said she made her way to the kitchen and grabbed her husband's handgun.

The tall man came in and started firing at her, but the bullets just ricocheted off her cupboards and appliances.

She fired back and heard the man start cursing.

After the man left, Gonzalez said she saw Gaxiola "pop his head into" the house, and she realized he was one of the Spanish-speaking men. He cursed when he saw her and "popped back out."

Gonzalez told detectives Flores "despised" Gaxiola because he had repeatedly caught him stashing marijuana on their property.

She told defense attorney Eric Larsen it wasn't true she knew her husband made his living transporting drugs and had marijuana packaging hidden on the property.

She insisted Flores kept a gun to scare away coyotes and stray dogs and thought he used a hidden storage place for his "dirty magazines." She didn't know he had court documents pertaining to other people's drug cases in that space.

Although Gonzalez was unable to pick Forde out of a photo lineup, she testified Tuesday Forde resembles the woman.

Larsen told jurors Gonzalez told police the woman home invader was a brunette. Forde was blond. He suggested Gonzalez's identification is based on months of media reports that included photos and videos of Forde.

Gonzalez also identified several items of jewelry that were found in Forde's possession as being hers. However, she also identified a bracelet as hers, which Larsen bought on eBay a few weeks ago. Gonzalez insisted she owned one just like it and it's been missing since the shootings.

Larsen will wrap up his cross-examination of Gonzalez today.

Contact reporter Kim Smith at 573-4241 or kimsmith@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Event Calendar

Today's events | Add an event

Most viewed:


Get weekly ads via e-mail