Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Shawna Forde

Who is Shawna Forde?


Shawna Forde
Shawna Forde

The woman who seemed to be at the center of the home invasion plot had a fascinating backstory. On July 15, 2009, Seattle Weekly had published an insightful account of Shawna Forde's journey from foster child to petty criminal to Minuteman activist to accused murderer. According to the story, Shawna Breitgham (as she was originally known) was born in Everett, Wash., but was given up for adoption early on and spent much of her childhood in and out of the foster care system. She was first arrested at the tender age of eleven; by seventeen, Shawna had been busted five times for crimes like burglary, theft, and prostitution.

The check of court records by Seattle Weekly found that Shawna had been divorced three times during the 1990s, giving birth to a daughter and a son, as well as another child who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Her half-brother Merrill Metzger told the paper that Shawna instilled the same defiance of the law in her children. "She taught them both how to shoplift," Metzger told reporter Rick Anderson, "Shawna also used them to distract people while she shoplifted." In fact, Shawna's son Devon Duffey (also known as Devon Eddy) had been arrested several times on burglary charges and was sentenced to roughly three years behind bars for trafficking stolen property in 2008. The Herald, Everett's local newspaper, reported that Devon, 17 at the time, was one of three young men who had beaten a beauty salon owner with a baseball bat; Shawna Forde had worked at the salon at the time. He admitted responsibility for the beating and was jailed.

And Shawna's troubled relationship with authority surfaced in less criminal ways. In 2001, while studying to be a beautician in Everett, Forde organized a walkout by students who felt the cosmetology school was not delivering training as promised. A few years later, Shawna ran for Everett City Council despite the fact that she had recently been arrested for stealing a container of chocolate milk costing $3.18. Although she pleaded guilty to the shoplifting two months before the election, she still managed to rack up almost 6,000 votes in a losing effort.

Shawna split from her most recent husband, John Forde, in July 2008, although the divorce wasn't finalized until February of 2009 and the two still lived together at times. On December 22, 2008, John Forde was shot multiple times by a stranger who burst into the home. Mr. Forde survived the attack but has never commented publicly about it. A week later, Shawna Forde called police to report that she had been attacked, slashed and raped by Hispanic gangsters. Police found no leads in either case. Merrill Metzger maintains the sketch of the stranger who shot John Forde resembled a man Shawna had been dating. Still, the police never charged Shawna with the attack on her husband, nor have they made any headway on the alleged rape of Shawna Forde. Everett Police Sgt. Robert Goetz told Seattle Weekly, "the case has been closed due to insufficient evidence," since Shawna was the only witness.


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