Update, Feb. 22 An Arizona jury that a week ago convicted former Everett city council candidate Shawna Forde today agreed to sentence her to


Shawna Forde Murder Case Update: Ex-Everett Council Candidate Sentenced to Death in AZ

Update, Feb. 22 An Arizona jury that a week ago convicted former Everett city council candidate Shawna Forde today agreed to sentence her to death for two counts of first-degree murder. The Arizona Daily Star says defense attorney Jill Thorpe, in asking jurors to spare Ford's life, said she was a "broken person" who suffered repeated acts of sexual and physical abuse and abandonment as a child. The abuse and a subsequent stroke resulted in brain damage that left Forde vulnerable to manipulation, Thorpe said, unable to assess people or change course. The jurors, apparently, were not sympathetic, and Forde will now join two other women on death row as she awaits her date with the needle.

Update, Feb. 14: Former Boeing worker Shawna Forde was convicted today on two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, and aggravated assault and robbery--the results of a 2009 crime spree to finance her vigilante border-patrol group, reports the Arizona Daily Star. The jury deliberated for seven hours over two days. Jurors will now be asked if the death penalty ought to be considered.

The Daily Beast also has a jailhouse interview with Forde here.

Jan. 21: Opening statements are set today in what could be a lengthy Arizona trial to determine the fate of ex-Seattle prostitute Shawna Forde, and, for that matter, Tucson. The national media is now covering the case, but likely wouldn't have if Jared Loughner had taken his pills. The Daily Beast, for one, calls its Forde story today "Arizona's Other Shooting Horror." It's not that Tucson is some idyllic desert crossroads--the sprawling city of a half-million had more than 50 homicides last year, 74 in 2008. (Seattle had 19 last year.) But Loughner's mad-man slaughter was an aberration, and Forde's alleged murders took place down by the Mexican border.

No matter. While Tucson Mayor Robert Walkup tries to tamp down his city's notoriety with his new "Civility Accord"--asking folks to be respectful and "choose words accordingly"--reporters will be telling the nation about this other "Tucson" horror, with a similar flavor and some of the same players.

Minuteman leader Forde, a onetime Everett city council candidate, and Jason Bush, also wanted for two murders in Wenatchee, are facing the death penalty with a third member of her rebel border-watch band. They are charged with the first-degree murders of a Mexican man, Raul Flores, and his daughter Brisenia, and the attempted murder of the man's wife, on May 30 in Arivica, Ariz. Forde is accused of masterminding the slayings to finance her border-watch group and grow it into a Blackwater-like organization, running mercenary missions south of the border.

Like Loughner, they allegedly had no reluctance to mow down their victims--both Loughner and Bush are each accused of killing 9-year-old girls. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik talked himself into the spotlight in both cases, as well.

Dupnik, who gained worldwide fame after the Tucson shootings for condemning strident right-wing "rhetoric," didn't mince words in the wake of the Flores murders either. He described Forde as "at best, a psychopath" and called the murder of Brisenia "one of the most despicable acts that I have heard of."

Dupnik has since fallen silent on both cases. Still, attorneys for Forde and Loughner say all the publicity in Tucson has made fair trials impossible for their clients. Loughner's case apparently will be heard in California as a result. But Forde must take the stand in Tucson, where Loughner's gunsmoke lingers. It sounds ready-made for both a conviction and appeal.

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