Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Shawna Forde trial: Survivor Gina Gonzalez takes the stand, and the jury hears the 911 call

-- by Dave

The Shawna Forde murder trial got into full swing the past couple of days, with some riveting testimony featuring the sole survivor of Forde's killer Minuteman-gang home invasion, Gina Gonzalez -- some of it on the taped 911 call she made the night her daughter and husband were shot and killed.

The Arizona Star has been covering the trial assiduously, including this stark account of Gonzalez' testimony yesterday:

She testified about people posing as law enforcement officers coming into her home and shooting and killing her husband, Raul "Junior" Flores, shooting and wounding her, then turning the gun on their 9-year old daughter Brisenia.

"He's all out of bullets by then because he's used them on me and Junior. So he stands there and he loads the gun right in front of her (Brisenia)," Gonzalez says.

Prosecutor Kellie Johnson asks, "And is this something you can see happening?"

Gonzalez answers, "I can hear it happening. I can hear her telling him to 'please don't shoot me.'"

The child is shot and killed.

The jury also heard the now-famous 911 call Gonzalez made before the killers came back and she opened fire on them:

The Star has the report from the courtroom of the 911 dispatcher's testimony:

Remsburg was called to the stand to lay the foundation for the dramatic and seemingly-never-ending call placed shortly after 1 a.m. May 30.

"Somebody just came in and shot my husband and daughter," Gonzalez tells Remsburg.

As she pleads for help and starts to tell Remsburg details of what has happened, she suddenly starts yelling.

"They're coming back! They're coming back in!"

At least five gunshots are heard before Gonzalez yells out "Get the (expletive) out of here!" and more gunshots ring out. (She later asks if her shooting at the gunman will be "held against her" and Remsburg laughs and tells her it was clearly self-defense.)

When she gets back to the phone, Gonzalez again pleads for Remsburg to hurry.

"They shot my husband and they shot my daughter and they shot me. Oh my God, I can't believe this is happening."

There are also, as always, some telling details in the less-spectacular testimony and evidence presented in the court, particularly Gonzalez' encounter with a teal van beforehand:
The day before the slayings, Gonzalez said she and Brisenia were out in their yard looking for some missing car keys when a teal minivan drove by very slowly.

The woman inside reluctantly waved at her when she waved at the van, Gonzalez said.

She'd never seen the van before and she knows just about everyone in town from working at The Mercantile, Gonzalez said.

The incident was so odd, she mentioned it to detectives and they later found the van at suspect Albert Gaxiola's house, with Jason Bush's blood in it.

And then there's the jewelry belonging to Gonzalez that turned up in Forde's possession:

The jewelry stolen from her home that night (and later found in Forde's possession) was stuff she rarely wore: a belt buckle she'd had since she was 17, her wedding ring, earrings belonging to her late mother-in-law, etc.

The belt buckle had a "G" on it for her name and she was able to show detectives she had a bracelet matching one of the necklaces that was recovered.

Be sure to read Will Bunch's excellent take on the story.

The L.A. Times report is here.

Our ongoing coverage of the Forde case is here.

[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]

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