Shawna Forde, a border vigilante, was sentenced to death today for the murders of a 9-year-old Arivaca, Ariz., girl and her father in a home invasion she orchestrated to rob the family.
The jury deliberated only a few hours before coming to the decision, but the one juror who spoke to reporters said the deliberations were difficult.
"We chose death because that's what seems fair," juror Angela Thomas told ABC affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson.
"While Shawna Forde gets to delight in the picture of her brand new grandson, there's another person in this equation who never will. There's another person in this equation who'll never get to wear her first pair of high heels or have her first kiss or go to prom or graduation," Thomas said. "There's a little girl in this equation who's father won't be able to walk her down the aisle."
She said the trial, which included graphic, detailed testimony about how Raul "Junior" Flores, 29, and his young daughter were gunned down in their own home while Flores' wife, pretending to be dead, watched, was extremely painful.
"Hideous, the apropos word is hideous. Every second of every day. Every time I close my eyes I see this picture. It's a picture of a love seen innocent enough. And little hands with red fingernails and a white tank top and turquoise colored pajama shorts," Thomas said. "I've seen it a thousand times in my house. I have daughters. The difference in this picture I see is that this little girl's face, half of her face is missing."
Forde, 43, founder of Minutemen American Defense, showed no emotion when the verdict was read, but her attorney, Eric Larsen, said he did not expect the jury to come back with a death sentence.
"No I did not," Larsen told KGUN-TV. "I fully expected that this community valued human life greater then this jury did."
There were rumors that Flores had a stash of $4,000 in cash in the house.
Flores and his daughter Bresenia were both killed in the May 2009 attack at their Arivaca home. His wife, Gina Gonzalez, was shot three times, but survived by playing dead.
In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Forde was found guilty of one count of attempted first-degree murder; one count of burglary in the first-degree; one count of aggravated assault, serious physical injury; one count of aggravated assault, deadly weapon/dangerous instrument; one count of armed robbery; and one count of aggravated armed robbery.
The Pima County Superior Court jury came back with a verdict after it deliberated for seven hours over two days.
Forde's lawyer had argued that the woman was not in the house when Flores and his daughter were murdered, so she should not be found guilty.
But prosecutors said Forde was with the two men who broke into the Flores home, and Gonzalez testified that she was there.
"She didn't put a gun to Brisenia's head ... but she was the one in charge," Pima County Deputy County Attorney Rick Unklesbay said in closing arguments. "Because of that you must hold her accountable."
Gonzalez, who played dead in the kitchen after being shot three times in the leg, identified one of the three suspects as Forde.