Arizona jury condemns second vigilante to death

TUCSON, Ariz (Reuters) – A jury on Wednesday sentenced a second member of a small Arizona border vigilante group to death for gunning down a man and his 9-year-old daughter during a home invasion two years ago.

Jason Eugene Bush, 36, was sentenced to death for killing Raul Junior Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia Flores, on May 30, 2009, during a home invasion in Arivaca, a town near the Mexico border, a Pima County Superior Court spokeswoman said.

The same jury convicted Bush last month of two counts of first degree murder.

Flores’ wife Gina Gonzalez, 31, was also injured in the attack, but survived. She returned fire with a handgun, forcing the attackers to flee, and then called 911.

Prosecutors claimed the robbery was planned to raise money for the Minutemen American Defense, a group that sought to curb illegal immigration over the porous Mexico border, the Arizona Daily Star newspaper reported.

The founder and leader of the group, Shawna Forde, 43, was sentenced to death in February for her role in the shootings.

Forde was not accused of firing any shots during the attack, but prosecutors claim she planned the attack to fund the fledgling border group.

A third person, Albert Robert Gaxiola, is also charged with helping Forde plan and execute the home invasion, according to court documents. He is awaiting trial.

Bush’s case now goes automatically to the Arizona Supreme Court for appeal.

(Reporting by Brad Poole; Editing by Tim Gaynor and Greg McCune)

Arizona jury condemns second vigilante to death