Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The prosecution case is almost complete

The prosecution in the double-homicide trial for Minuteman American Defense founder Shawna Forde is expected to rest its case in the guilty/not guilty phase on Thursday morning.

Forde, 43, is charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder in the deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, as well as charges of one count of attempted first-degree murder; one count of burglary in the first-degree; one count of aggravated assault, serious physical injury; one count of aggravated assault, deadly weapon/dangerous instrument; one count of armed robbery; and one count of aggravated armed robbery.

Cop shop

On Wednesday there was a parade of criminal lab techs and detectives who investigated the May 30, 2009, home invasion in Arivaca.

Gina Gonzalez
Pima County Sheriff’s Department Det. Charles Garcia told the jury that he was awakened at 1:53 a.m. on May 30 by the Homicide Unit sergeant who directed him to respond to University Medical Center to interview Gina Gonzalez, the wife of Raul Flores and mother of Brisenia Flores. Gonzalez was in the emergency room being treated for two gunshot wounds, one to the right shoulder and the other the right thigh.

Garcia arrived about 3 a.m. and he said his first impression of Gonzalez was that of surprise. “She was very polite. A very calm demeanor,” he said. “They were talking to her about the possibility that she might loose her leg.” Prior to wheeling her into surgery, Garcia took two recorded statements from Gonzalez.

Garcia also interviewed Gonzalez on June 2 at UMC when he showed her a photo lineup with the pictures of six females with blond hair. Forde was picture number two in the photo array. “I remember her looking at it,” Garcia testified. “She eliminated numbers one, three and four. She became fixated on two, five and six and started talking about characteristics. She looked closely at two and five. At some point, she thought she recognized someone in there as a Stacey.”

On cross-examination, defense attorney Eric Larsen asked Garcia if Gonzalez had requested pictures of the six people in the lineup without makeup. “I don’t recall,” he said.

Larsen also asked Garcia if any interviews with Gonzalez had been conducted without a tape recorder. Garcia said any unrecorded comments were pleasantries and nothing specific about the case.


Det. Christopher Hogan testified that he was assigned to surveillance on room 129 at the America’s Best Value Inn where Forde had been staying. On June 10, Hogan observed Gaxiola and a woman identified as Gina Moraga enter Forde’s room shortly after 4 p.m. They left 20-25 minutes later. “Mr. Gaxiola gave Ms. Forde a hug,” he testified.

On June 11, Hogan followed Forde to 1814 S. Rosemont in Tucson. Gaxiola and Moraga pulled up and entered the house. Gaxiola left and later returned to carry on a conversation with Forde in the front yard. Forde then left the Rosemont address and drove to Sierra Vista where she was later arrested.

Det. Paul Montano testified that he was part of the investigative team that responded to Hereford in Cochise County when Forde was arrested during a traffic stop. Montano gave a cell phone registered to Forde to Det. Garcia who used it to send a text message to co-defendant Albert Gaxiola asking him to meet her at the McDonalds across the street from the motel where Forde had been staying at near the intersection of Park Ave. and Benson Highway. Detectives, including Hogan, took Gaxiola into customer a short time later at that restaurant.

The lead detective on the case, Juan Carlos Navarro, testified that he was part of the search of the Gaxiola residence on June 1. “I found a notebook on top of the stove,” he said. “I noticed a paper that read ‘green light Junior 5-4.’” There was also a notation that said “truck him” and “Hummer her” talking about the vehicles the Flores family drove.

Navarro also found a second notebook in a desk drawer next to a business card for Shawna Forde, Minuteman American Defense.

Cell phone records

Navarro was also asked to testify regarding cell phone records for everyone involved in the case.
  Shawna Forde – (425) 356-2032
  Albert Gaxiola – (520) 425-1443
  Gina Moraga – (520) 358-5486
  Oin Oakstar – (520) 822-4173
  Jaszmin Eddy – (425) 356-7747
In the cell phone registered to Forde where entries for Bush as “Red” and Gaxiola as “Albert.”

In Gaxiola’s cell phone directory Forde as listed as “White.”

Some of the highlights of the text messages included:
  May 29, 1:30 p.m. – Gaxiola to Forde: “Bad guys looking 4 crew who broke door. Dog who took blast made it. Txt when arrive. Had to give Red early tour 45 with dishes. Have a great day.”
  May 29, 1:41 p.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “Here now.”
  May 29, 1:42 p.m. – Gaxiola to Forde: “Copy. Sending o. Get his number.”
  May 30, 1:33 a.m. – Gaxiola to Forde: “Cops on scene. Lay low.”
  May 30, 1:58 a.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “No worries. All good. Relax, competition gone.”
  May 30, 2:41 a.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “Can u stop and get a few rolls of gauze and compress bandages.”
  May 30, 2:43 a.m. – “Use tools. Car dead on side of road.”
  May 30, 6:08 a.m. – Forde to daughter, Jaszmin Eddy: “Whatever goes down im in deep know I love u make me proud and do somethin good with ur life ill call in a week god bless u jasz.”
  May 30, 7:45 a.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “Dude. Red cannot be moved. Where r u?”
  May 30, 12:17 p.m. – Forde to Gaxiola: “Where’s ohh?”
  May 30, 12:26 p.m. – Gaxiola to Forde: “520-822-4173”

Navarro testified that they had retrieved a record from Oakstar’s phone that Forde called him on May 30, at 12:28 p.m. and that the call lasted two minutes, one second. There is no record of that voice call in the phone company records for Forde’s phone.

Forde arrest

After Forde was arrested in Cochise County Navarro and another detective interviewed her. She denied having anything to do with the May 30 home invasion. “I wasn’t there on the 30th,” Forde reportedly said. “I was in Tucson or California. What is this about?”

Forde was asked about co-defendant Jason Bush, aka Gunny, aka Red. “Not Much,” she reportedly said. “Special Forces. Seems to be a stand up guy.”

Forde also told detectives that the last time she saw Bush was when she dropped him off at Melinda Shelton’s house outside Kingman.

Forde said Gaxiola was one of the scouts used by her minuteman group. “he let’s us use his house,” she reportedly said. “He’s a great scout.”

Snail mail

Navarro also testified about letters mailed from the Pima County Adult Detention Center by Forde to her son, Devon Eddy. In the letters she was asking her son to identify items of jewelry that Gonzalez reported stolen and found in her possession as jewelry he had given to her.

©David S. Ricker, all rights reserved