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Blog: Arivaca home invader shot girl, 9, in face, prosecutor says

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Prosecutor Kellie Johnson and defense attorney Eric Larsen each took about 40 minutes this morning to present their openings in the Shawna Forde capital murder trial.

Forde is charged with first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009, deaths of Raul Flores and his daughter, Brisenia.

Johnson, her voice cracking at times, told jurors how Gina Gonzalez was pretending to be dead when she heard her husband and daughter being shot multiple times.

The prosecutor said Gonzalez will tell jurors that the pair's killer told Brisenia he wasn't going to hurt her before firing two rounds, one as the muzzle of the gun was touching the girl's cheek.

The little girl was sleeping in the living room that night because she wanted to be with her dog, who wasn't allowed in her bedroom, Johnson said.

Albert Gaxiola became a suspect pretty quickly because Gonzalez told detectives he and her husband had been having problems, Johnson said.

While at Gaxiola's house, detectives found suspicious texts on his phone to a phone later linked to Shawna Forde, bloody boots and a bloody, teal van that had been seen driving by the Flores home the day before the slayings.

The bloody boots and van were later linked to Jason Bush and blood found outside the Flores home, Johnson said.

Johnson told jurors they'll be hearing from Oin Oakstar, who admits participating in the planning of Flores' death but who dropped out at the last minute and two FBI informants who discussed home invasions with Forde in Colorado just weeks prior to Flores' death.

Larsen told the jurors the state's case is essentially a donut, with circumstantial evidence all around, but nothing to put Shawna Forde in the middle.

He told jurors Gonzalez needs and deserves sympathy, but their job is to decide Forde's guilt or innocence without passion or prejudice.

There is no scientific evidence placing Forde at the scene and Gonzalez told authorities the woman in her house that morning with the gunman was a brunette and Forde had bright blonde hair.

She now says Forde resembles that woman, but only after 19 months of being told Forde is the woman and after 19 months of seeing videos and photographs of her, Larsen said.

"Sometimes you see what you want to see," Larsen said kindly.

Oakstar only fingered Gaxiola, Bush and Forde after realizing he could spend years in prison on unrelated weapons charges, Larsen said.

Gonzalez says she didn't see Oakstar in the home that morning, but that doesn't mean he wasn't there, Larsen said.

Larsen told jurors prosecutors chose to believe Oakstar's account despite the fact he told detectives things that simply weren't true.

For one, he told cops that Forde and Co. burned a body a few days before Flores died and dumped the body on Flores' property. For another, he said those responsible for Flores' death burned up the van they drove that morning.

As for the FBI informants, if their account of their meeting with Forde is so crucial to the state's case, why did the FBI completely ignore the men when they warned them about the plot, Larsen asked.

Forde is a "big mouth" and an exaggerator, a woman who wants to be more than she is, but she wasn't in the house that morning, Larsen said.

Testimony is expected to begin at 1:15 p.m.

As mentioned earlier, a reporter from the L.A. Times is covering the trial, but a crew from CNN is also in attendance.






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