Second anti-immigration activist convicted in killing of Arivaca man, 9-year-old daughter
A Pima County jury took about four hours over two days to convict a border activist of shooting a 9-year-old girl twice in the face at point-blank range during a home invasion and killing her father as well.
The jurors will now be asked to decide if Jason Bush, 36, is eligible for the death penalty for killing Brisenia Flores and Raul Junior Flores, 29.
Minutemen American Defense founder Shawna Forde, 43, decided to fund her border protection group by robbing and killing people she suspected were drug smugglers, according to prosecutors.
On May 30, 2009, Forde and Bush pretended to be U.S. Border Patrol agents to gain entry into the Flores’ Arivaca home and once inside, Bush shot Raul Flores and Flores’ wife, Gina Gonzalez.
Bush’s attorneys, Chris Kimminau and Richard Parrish, gave neither opening statements nor closing arguments in the case. Nor did they cross-examine many witnesses.
Although they said nothing to the jury, they conceded Bush’s guilt to prosecutors and Pima County Superior Judge John Leonardo at the start of the trial.
The defense attorneys said they wanted to preserve their credibility with the jury for the mitigation phase of the trial. They hope to sway the jury to spare Bush’s life by presenting evidence about his dysfunctional childhood and mental health issues.
Unklesbay and co-counsel Kellie Johnson will argue Bush deserves the death penalty because he killed multiple people, committed multiple other felonies aside from the murders, and killed a child under 15.
Bush was also convicted of attempted murder and various burglary, aggravated assault and robbery charges.
Forde was convicted after seven hours of deliberations and sentenced to death last month. Gaxiola’s trial is scheduled for June 1.
Jason Bush, on trial for killings in Arivaca. Benjie Sanders/Arizona Daily Star
They’ll have a hard time painting his childhood as worse than Shawna Forde’s was, and she got the death penalty without pulling a trigger.