UPDATE, April 7: Jason Bush and Shawna Forde, together again. The Wenatchee white supremacist joined the ex-Seattle prostitute on Arizona's death row yesterday after a jury decided he, like she, should die for the slayings of a man and his daughter in a 2009 robbery-turned-bloodbath, reports the Arizona Daily Star. Defense attorney Richard Parrish invoked Biblical passages to save Bush, but the jury, after three-and-a-half hours of deliberation, chose to abide by an eye for an eye. Found guilty on multiple other charges, Bush will be officially sentenced in May.
A hearing this week will determine whether or not he will join Forde on Arizona's death row. She was convicted and sentenced to death last month as ringleader of the robbery that left the father and daughter dead and the wife/mother wounded.
Along with a third co-conspirator, Albert Gaxiola (who still faces trial), Bush was a
member of a vigilante border-watch group formed by Forde and known as Minutemen American Defense (MAD).
Flores was allegedly a drug dealer competing with Gaxiola, according to court documents. Forde, an ex-Boeing worker and onetime Everett city council candidate, teamed up with the violent, Latino-hating Bush and her lover Gaxiola to rob Flores in hopes of financing her tiny MAD operation and turning it into a Blackwater-styled militia combating drug dealers and illegal immigrants.
Known as Gunny, Bush is suspected of at least five likely race-related murders and an attempted murder. They include the 1997 slayings of a homeless Mexican man in Wenatchee--knifed on the streets--and a teenager from East Wenatchee--shot in the back and head. The teen was white, but Bush allegedly considered him a "traitor to his race," according to Chelan County authorities.
At his trial over the past two weeks, Bush offered little defense for his actions. His attorneys, reports the Arizona Daily Star, gave neither opening statements nor closing arguments. Nor did they cross-examine many witnesses. Attorneys said they wanted to preserve their credibility with the jury for the sentencing-mitigation phase of the trial.
Bush had claimed to a Pima County sheriff's detective that he'd closed his eyes and shot the little girl because he felt threatened by his two partners in crime--that they would retaliate if he didn't eliminate witnesses. But nobody, from cops to the jury, bought it.