No retrial for Arizona rancher accused of killing migrant

Prosecutors in Arizona have decided not to pursue a retrial in the case of George Alan Kelly, a 75-year-old rancher who was accused of shooting and killing an unarmed migrant on his property.

“The Santa Cruz County Attorney’s office has made the decision not to pursue a retrial due to the distinctive circumstances and obstacles surrounding this case,” stated Deputy County Attorney Kimberly Hunley during Monday’s status hearing. This choice comes after a mistrial was declared last week when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.”

Kelly’s defense team wasted no time in submitting a request for the case to be dismissed with prejudice. A hearing to address this request will be scheduled for a later date.

Kelly, who maintains his innocence, is facing charges for the alleged murder of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea on January 30, 2023. The charges include one count of second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Buitimea, a 48-year-old migrant from Mexico, was discovered deceased on Kelly’s expansive 170-acre ranch near Nogales, which is in proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Defense attorneys claimed that Kelly contacted the U.S. Border Patrol and discharged multiple warning shots at the individuals he believed were armed with AK-47s. However, according to prosecutors and witnesses, it was revealed that the men were not armed. Fortunately, the other migrants were unharmed and were able to flee back to Mexico.

A group of protesters gathered outside the courthouse in Nogales on Monday during the status hearing.

Tracy Peterson, a demonstrator, expressed her concern about the message being conveyed by the current situation. She stated, “It provides an indication to people that it’s open season. That migrants are crossing and they’re on your property, that it’s reasonable to shoot.”

Kelly, when informed that the case would not be retried, seemed to be overwhelmed with emotions. Later, in a conversation with reporters, she expressed her deep sense of relief, stating, “You hit the nail on the head, relief. Thank God.”

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MBS Staff
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