Murder convict Gaxiola eligible for death penalty, jury decides
The death penalty ought to be reserved for the “worst of the worst” and Albert Gaxiola isn’t one of them, defense attorney Steve West told a jury Wednesday afternoon.
Despite his appeal, the jurors found Gaxiola is eligible for the death penalty. They will spend the next several days hearing arguments on why he should or should not be executed. Two of his companions, Shawna Forde and Jason Bush, already are on death row for the same murders.
West argued that Gaxiola, 44, couldn’t have predicted what was going to happen to Brisenia Flores the night the 9-year-old was shot and killed along with her father, and his involvement in the home invasion that took place that night was a minor role.
Last Friday, the same jury convicted Gaxiola of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009, slayings of Raul Junior Flores, 29, and his daughter.
Prosecutors believe Gaxiola recruited Forde and Bush to kill Flores, an Arivaca resident, because he was a competitor in the drug-smuggling business. Forde, they said, agreed to participate, hoping proceeds from the subsequent robbery would fund her Minuteman organization.
Forde and Bush, the triggerman, were convicted earlier this year.
The mitigation phase started today. @KimSmithStar has been live-Tweeting from the courtroom.