Justice for a 9-Year-Old Girl’s Killers in the Courts and in Print

A chilling trial is underway in Tucson for the murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father. According to eyewitness testimony from her mother (the attackers thought she was dead), Brisenia pleaded with anti-immigration vigilantes who had invaded her own home, not to shoot her—shortly before they murdered her anyway.

Outraged over this incident or the fact that you’ve never heard about it? As the Village Voice argues, it deserves more national attention. The murders occurred in Arizona (which has seen its fair share of journalists reporting for prominent national media outlets lately) in May 2009. News of the trial has finally made it to CNN and ABC News, but not The Washington Post or The New York Times. That these papers of record haven’t managed to print anything when British newspaper The Daily Mail ran this article on Jan. 26 is particularly baffling.

We at OtherWords ran an op-ed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Heidi Beirich about the Minuteman vigilante movement in May 2010 that referenced this tragic incident. “We don’t need armed vigilantes patrolling the border,” Beirich wrote. “What we need instead is for Congress to act without further delay to bring our immigrant workers out of the shadows and into the American community as full-fledged citizens.” Please read it for background on this case.

I also recommend the Seattle Weekly’s account of the courtroom proceedings. It identified Shawna Forde, leader of Minuteman American Defense and a prime suspect in this murder case, as a former Seattle prostitute. It also mentions “Forde’s sister Aranda (taking) the stand to recall family moments with her sibling, including Shawna’s dreams of someday robbing drug cartels.”