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Shawna Forde found guilty on all counts

Shawna Forde found guilty on all counts

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Reporter: Sergio Avila
Web Producer: Layla Tang

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -  The leader of a border militia group has been found guilty and now may possibly face the death penalty for her role in a botched home invasion.  A jury has convicted Shawna Forde on eight felony counts, including the murder of a man and his young daughter.

The jury had a full day of deliberations on Friday and at around noon Monday, they reached their decision. They found Shawna Forde guilty on all eight counts stemming from a 2009 home invasion in Arivaca that left Raul Flores and his nine-year-old daughter, Brisenia, dead. Forde was a former leader of the Minutemen American Defense, a border watch group.  Sheriff's deputies said after the murders that Flores was a known drug dealer and they suspected the motive was to steal money to finance Forde's anti-illegal immigration activity.

The victims' family sat in the courtroom and were very emotional as the verdict was read.  The tears flowed and they embraced the prosecutors and detectives when it was all over.

Family members refused to comment on the verdict. The defense and prosecution did the same, so KGUN9 On Your Side went to an independent lawyer to get some insight into their silence. Michael Piccarreta said this is pretty common for this type of case.

"The case isn't over. It's gone through the first phase and she's been found guilty of first degree murder. There is a second stage and it in fact it would probably be inappropriate for prosecutors to be commenting until the case is done while there's still a jury out there hearing evidence," Piccarreta said.

The jury will now hear evidence from both sides. The prosecution will try to show that this murder was so heinous Forde deserves to die, while the defense will fight for Forde's life. 

"Generally what the defense tries to show is that natural life, the rest of your life in prison is sufficient," Piccarreta said.

After the evidence is presented the jury will once again deliberate and decide if Forde lives or dies. If they decide she should live or if they can't reach a unanimous decision, the sentencing will fall in the judge's hands.  Piccarreta told KGUN9 News a judge will typically sentence someone to spend their natural life in prison for a case like this.