An Arizona jury has sentenced another member of the anti-immigration splinter group the Minuteman American Defense to the death penalty for the murders of Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia two years ago, according to Reuters.
Jason Eugene Bush was the group’s national director of operations and is the second member to receive the sentence, following ringleader Shawna Forde’s sentencing in February. A third member, Albert Robert Gaxiola, is also facing charges for the case, and his trial is set to start in June.
The three posed as border patrol and law enforcement officers and invaded the Flores home in Arivaca, Ariz., a town near the Mexico border, on May 30, 2009. They fatally shot Raul Flores and then shot and injured his wife Gina Gonzalez, before twice shooting their daughter Brisenia as she pleaded for her life.
Although Flores and Brisenia were U.S. citizens, Forde and her squad targeted the family because they falsely believed they would find drugs there. The squad had planned the raid and robbery to finance their border-guard vigilante group. Forde was found with Gonzalez’s wedding ring.
The Southern Povery Law Center writes, “The grisly murders exposed the nastier underbelly of the nativist movement on the border. Bush has ties to several white supremacist groups, and Forde routinely hobnobbed with many of the movement’s more radical leaders.”
Forde originally belonged to the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps before being removed and forming her own vigilante group. The Minutemen American Defense held protests against undocumented immigrants and recruited civilians to patrol the Arizona-Mexico border armed with weapons. Following her arrest, other nativist leaders began distancing themselves from Forde and her past anti-immigrant efforts.