Two years ago, a tattooed, blonde-haired Arizonan named Shawna Forde forced her way into the home of the Flores family, a few miles north of the Mexican border. Forde was the tough-talking head of Minutemen American Defense, one of a handful of paramilitary groups that operate along the Arizona-Mexico border, purporting to safeguard the state from an immigrant menace. Indeed, Arizona’s politicians have wailed for years that immigrants were invading homes, murdering innocent citizens like rancher Robert Krentz. But Forde’s bloody rampage proved that, in at least one case, the killer had a different face. According to testimony presented at her trial, one of Forde’s accomplices gunned down Raul Flores and his wife, Gina Gonzalez. Flores died. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, asked the intruders, “Why did you shoot my mom?” Brisenia was shot in the head. On Feb. 14, a jury convicted Forde of two counts of murder, along with attempted murder, assault, and robbery; she could face the death penalty. (Her accomplices will be tried later.) Asked about her stone-faced reaction to the verdict, Forde, a 43-year-old former beautician, told The Daily Beast, “You can’t freak out with the whole world watching you.” It could be a coda for Arizona, a state that has led the nation in anti-immigrant freakouts.
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