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How the Brutal Murders of a Little Girl and Her Father Doomed the Xenophobic Minuteman Movement

The brutal killings of Junior and Brisenia Flores highlighted growing extremism on the fringes of the anti-immigrant movement.

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For her part, Shawna Forde continues to claim her innocence, saying she was set up as part of a government conspiracy to destroy the border-watch movement. One of her border-watching allies, a former Simcox sidekick who calls herself “Laine Lawless” (real name: Roberta Dill) runs a “Justice For Shawna Forde” Web site that explores this conspiracy.

Interviewed by Arizona journalist Terry Greene Sterling, Forde wrote off the murder of Brisenia Flores as the natural product of her parents’ illicit lifestyle: “People shouldn’t deal drugs if they have kids.”

“I wish I could say I was sorry it happened,” Forde told Sterling. “I am not sorry on my behalf because I didn’t do it.”

Gina Gonzalez has declined all interviews since the trial, but her victim-impact statements during the three trials spoke volumes.

“It’s hard for me to understand how this all happened. I have so many questions that will remain unanswered. I just need to know, Why? Even though knowing why still wouldn’t be good enough. It still won’t bring them back,” she told the jury at the Gaxiola trial.

“What could a 9-year-old possibly done to deserve getting shot like that?" she said. “I don’t understand how someone could have that much hate in her heart.”

This article was reported in partnership with the  Investigative Fund  at The Nation Institute with support from the Puffin Foundation.

David Neiwert is a journalist and author based in Seattle. A National Press Club Award winner, he is the managing editor of the political blog Crooks and Liars, and is the author of five books on right-wing extremism. His book on Shawna Forde and the border-watch movement, The Last Minutemen, will be published in April 2013 by NationBooks.

 
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