Racist gang leader sent to death row

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The Independent US

A jury has sentenced the leader of an anti-immigrant group to death for the murder of a young girl and her father, in what prosecutors said was an attempt to steal drug money to fund the group's activities.

Shawna Forde, the leader of the Minutemen American Defence, has become the third woman on death row in the state of Arizona. The 43-year-old was convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder and other charges related to a raid on a home in Arivaca, a desert community about 10 miles north of the Mexican border, in May 2009. Raul Flores, 29, and his nine-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed in the raid.

Prosecutors alleged that Forde and her co-defendants dressed as police and forced their way into the property, then shot Mr Flores, his daughter and his wife, Gina Gonzalez, who survived after getting into a gun battle with the attackers. Forde's gang considered Mr Flores to be a drug smuggler and wanted to use his drug proceeds to seal off the border to Hispanic immigrants.

In an emergency call released by the sheriff, Ms Gonzalez could be heard pleading for help after her husband and daughter were shot, crying out in pain from a gunshot wound and then becoming frantic as the attackers returned. Forde, of Everett, Washington state, had denied two counts of first-degree murder and other charges.