By Sonu Wasu - email
After two weeks of testimony, and less than two days of deliberation, a jury found border activist Shawna Forde guilty on all counts.
Prosecutors said Forde led a May, 2009 home invasion in Aravica that killed 29-year old Raul Flores and his 9-year old daughter.
The girl's mother, Gina Gonzalez was also shot, but survived.
Gonzalez declined to comment after the trial, but walked out of the courtroom with a smile.
The case gained national attention when Forde and two accomplices broke into the Flores home, claiming to be police officers who were looking for fugitives. When Flores questioned their story, prosecutors said the men opened fire, killing Flores, and his young child.
Gonzalez called 911 after witnessing the crime. While she was on the phone, prosecutors said the suspects returned to finish her off.
In the 911 call you could hear several gunshots, as Gonzalez pleaded with dispatchers to get her help.
Prosecutors said Gonzalez fired back at the suspects, injuring one of them.
Prosecutors said the motive of this crime was money.
Forde believed Flores was a drug smuggler, and wanted his money to finance her extremist border watch operation.
Prosecutors remained tight lipped after the verdict, saying the case was not over yet.
The accused gunmen have yet to go to trial. Those who have been following the case expressed relief.
"She was an extremist. Even more extreme then the regular minutemen, but you know for years and years we've said, this is where that kind of language and hate leads us, and it leads to this kind of violence what we've seen in our community," said Kat Rodriguez, program director for the human rights group Coalicion de Derechos Humanos.
Defense attorneys declined our request for an interview. In court, defense attorneys argued that police had arrested the wrong woman. They pointed the finger at another person, and said Forde was not the mastermind of this crime.
The second phase of the trial begins on Tuesday. Jurors are expected to reconvene for the aggravated phase. That is when they will determine whether Forde should get the death penalty for these crimes.
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