Shawna Forde, Pals Ready to Give Each Other Up?

Shawna Forde stands accused of a double-murder in Arizona.
So much for honor among thieves, and accused murders: Shawna Forde, the Everett Minutemen leader facing double murder charges in Arizona, is pointing the finger at her two co-defendants, who are pointing back at her and each other.

The onetime Seattle prostitute and her cohorts are accused of shooting an alleged Mexican drug dealer and his child May 30, and wounding the child's mother. Forde, who headed a tiny renegade Minutemen group, was in the midst of a two-state robbery spree to finance a grandiose Blackwater-style militia organization she hoped to form, said her brother. She planned to take on drug cartels and rescue kidnap victims in Latin America.

According to the Arizona Star in Tucson, a judge yesterday agreed to allow two - and may allow three - separate trials in the case. Forde, Jason Bush of Wenatchee (accused of two other murders in Chelan County) and co-defendant Albert Gaxiola of Arizona think it's best to hang in there separately rather than hang together. As of now, Bush will be tried alone, the others await a final decision on similar requests.

In court, Forde's attorney said if Gaxiola fingers Forde, she'll be forced to ask, in front of a jury, about his criminal convictions, the likelihood he had scouted the crime scene earlier and sent incriminating phone text messages. Gaxiola, meanwhile, claims he wasn't inside the house when the victims were murdered and denies he was behind the shootings as Bush and Forde have indicated.

Bush will be first up, with a trial set for next November. There's the hint of a plea deal, however, that could turn him into a witness against his two alleged partners in crime. And here you thought Minutemen was a group movement.

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