Friday, March 18, 2011

Trial starts for the alleged shooter in the Arivaca double murder case

Deputy County Attorney
Kellie Johnson
(Pool photo by Dean Knuth/
Arizona Daily Star)

Trial started Friday at Pima County Superior Court for the alleged shooter in the May 30, 2009, home invasion in Arivaca that left a father and daughter dead and a mother wounded.

Jason Eugene Bush, 36, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Raul “Junior” Flores and his daughter, Brisenia, 9, as well as one count of the attempted first-degree murder of Gina Marie Gonzalez; 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.

Co-defendant Shawna Forde was recently convicted of all of these charges and was sentenced to death by a superior court jury.

Opening statements

Deputy County Attorney Kellie Johnson provided the jury of five males and 11 females with n outline of the evidence they could expect to her during her opening statement. Defense counsel Chris Kimminau reserved the right to provide an opening statement at the conclusion of the presentation of evidence by the prosecution.

The first witness for the prosecution was 9-1-1 operator Tanya Remsburg who took the called from Gonzalez the night of the shootings. Then the prosecution played the recording of the 9-1-1 call complete with the sound of several shots being fired by Gonzalez when the tall male gunman reentered the house. The defense asked no questions of the witness.

Then the prosecution called Gonzalez to the stand. Johnson asked Gonzalez about where they lived in Arivaca. “We lived on five acres in a doublewide trailer,” she testified.

Gonzalez said she and her husband and daughter had gone to Tucson that day. “We had just gotten back,” she testified. “We had gone to Tucson to get Brisenia some shoes for summer school and to pick up my other daughter at her grandma’s house.”

That daughter, Alexandra, may be alive today because she asked to remain at her grandparent’s house in Sahuarita. “She wanted to stay another night,” Gonzalez testified.
Gonzalez said she went to sleep about 11-11:30 p.m. and Brisenia went to sleep on a love seat in the living room with her puppy. “I had just washed her sheets and clean her room and I didn’t want the dog in there,” she testified.
Flores had gone outside to do a security check when Gonzalez had gone to sleep. “He came inside and started to watch TV,” she testified.
Knock, knock
Gonzalez was awakened shortly before 1 a.m. by her husband, Raul. “My husband wakes me up and says to put some clothes on because law enforcement is knocking at the door,” she testified.

Meanwhile, Flores went into the kitchen and living room to turn on some lights before answering the door. After Gonzalez finished dressing she sat down on the sleeping Brisenia on the love seat.

Gonzalez said her husband answered the door and was told that their neighbors had called to complain that they were harboring fugitives. “They tell him to open the door and that the house is surrounded and they need to take a look,” she testified.

Flores asked the persons at the door for a moment to get dressed. “They said ‘No, you need to open the door right now,’” she testified.

Flores asked to see identification. “They said they didn’t have time to show ID,” Gonzalez added.

Gonzalez testified that a female and a male then entered her home. “He was really tall and he’s carrying a handgun with another gun with duct tape on it,” she told the jury.

Gonzalez was asked about the face of the male. “It was painted black,” she said.

Flores attempted to ask questions of the male and female but received a negative response. “He says don’t take this personal but this bullet has your name on it,” Gonzalez testified.

There was a brief struggle that Flores lost. “He shoots him,” Gonzalez said through tears.

Then, Gonzalez was wounded first in the right shoulder and in the right femur. “That knocked me down on the ground,” she said.

Flores attempted to persuade the shooters to stop. “Junior was yelling ‘stop shooting my wife. Stop shooting her,’” she recalled.

At that point, Gonzalez said two other people came into the house. “I could hear them talking to each other in Spanish. One of them was telling the other one that he has another daughter,” she testified.

About that time Brisenia has started to wake up and the tall male turns his attention to her. “She asked ‘Why did you shoot my dad?’ and he says ‘Everything is going to be okay. Nobody’s going to hurt you,’” Gonzalez told the jury.


The tall male pointed in the direction of Gonzalez on the floor and asked Brisenia if she was her sister. “I could see Brisenia peeking down from the couch at me and she says ‘No, that’s not my sister. That’s my mother,’” Gonzalez recalled.

At that point, the tall male with the blackened face proceeded to reload his weapon as Brisenia watched. “She said ‘Please don’t shoot me,’” Gonzalez testified. “He shoots her twice.”

 Gonzalez also testified about calling 9-1-1 and finding her husband’s handgun in the kitchen and using it to would the tall male when he reentered the house to finish her off.

The defense asked no questions of Gonzalez and they asked no questions of Border Patrol Agent Don Williams who was one of the first representatives of law enforcement to reach the scene of the shootings.

Testimony in the case is scheduled to resume Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.