9 year old Brisenia Flores, brutally murdered on orders from Minuteman Shawna Forde, has finally received justice with the conviction and sentencing of Albert Gaxiola
Pima County Superior Court Judge John S. Leonardo sentenced convicted murderer Albert Robert Gaxiola yesterday to natural life in the Arizona Department of Corrections for the May 30, 2009, murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores during the home invasion murder spree in Arivaca, led by Minuteman Shawna Forde.
This brings to an end, the case that for a moment in time, took peoples minds and thoughts away from the hatred of Hispanics, both legal and illegal, and for a moment, focused on the murder of an innocent 9 year old child and her father in a small, dusty,town in southern Arizona.
Shawna Forde Inmate #260830 official portrait courtesy of ASPC- Perryville
Inmate 263277 Jason Bush Death Row mugshot
Minuteman Shawna Forde and her triggerman, Aryan wannabe Jason Eugene Bush were sentenced to death x 2 for the murders plus 65 and 78 years respective additional time for the associated crimes. They are currently on Arizona’s death row beginning their first round of appeals.
The sentences for Gaxiola played out like this.
- Count 1—First-Degree Murder—natural life in prison, with no chance of parole.
- Count 2—First-Degree Murder—life in prison, with chance to apply for parole after serving 25 calendar years.
- Count 3—Burglary in the First Degree—10.5 years.
- Count 4—Attempted First-Degree Murder—10.5 years.
- Count 5—Aggravated Assault, Serious Physical Injury—7.5 years.
- Count 6—Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon—7.5 years.
- Count 7—Armed Robbery—10.5 years.
- Count 8—Aggravated Robbery—7.5 years.
These sentences will be served consecutively, meaning one must be finished before time begins on the next. This will effectively keep Gaxiola in prison for the rest of his miserable life or until another inmate introduces a shiv in his back.
Albert Robert Gaxiola (pool photo by Mamta Popat/ Arizona Daily Star)
Truth is as we see it, Gaxiola lucked out in two ways. The jury he drew or that was selected seemed disinclined to pass a death sentence, even though they heard essentially the same evidence, the same witnesses as were presented in the other two trials, and two, he had some pretty decent lawyers. But in the end, who got the worst deal? Forde and Bush who sit in solitary facing the death penalty or Gaxiola, who’ll be in general population looking over his back never knowing where or when his final punishment will be meted out.
David Ricker, who has covered these trials from the courtroom wrote what I consider an excellent wrap-up of the case, if you can ignore the typos and lack of use of his spellchecker and revealed some things I didn’t even know, which might put the guilt of the players into perspective.
So that is the end of the Arivaca murder case for now. All that’s left is the appeals which have started for Forde and Bush and will run for decades. Gaxiola’s lawyers have indicated they will appeal his conviction also.
At the end of the day, a beautiful young girl, with a lifetime of potential before her and her father are dead, or as Ricker puts it, “at eternal rest while 2 of her three murderers face uncertain futures”. A mother has lost her husband and daughter, and families torn apart, and for what? Financial gain and greed and the desire of one egomaniac to establish a clandestine organization on the Arizona border to hunt and kill Mexicans.