Mistrial Declared in Case of Arizona Rancher Who Shot Illegal Immigrant Trespassing on Property

[Photo Credit: By Niels Noordhoek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19595515]

On Monday, a judge declared a mistrial in the case of a 75-year-old Arizona rancher who was accused of murdering an illegal immigrant who had trespassed on his property.

The jury was unable to reach a conviction after several days of discussion.

George Alan Kelly stands accused of committing second-degree murder in relation to the fatal shooting of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a 48-year-old individual, in January 2023.

The jury commenced deliberations on Thursday following a four-week trial and failed to reach a unanimous verdict by Monday.

A status hearing is scheduled for April 29 to ascertain if prosecutors would pursue a retrial. In March 2023, Kelly entered a plea of not guilty to the charges of murder and aggravated assault.

Kelly was charged with shooting Cuen-Buitimea, a Mexican citizen, on January 31, 2023, while he was unlawfully entering Kelly’s land in Nogales, Arizona, together with a number of other individuals suspected of being in the country illegally.

The defense said that Kelly discharged just cautionary rounds and did not shoot Cuen-Buitimea.

Kelly’s legal team stated that he promptly contacted Border Patrol upon hearing a gunshot and subsequently discovered Cuen-Buitimea’s deceased body on his land, prompting him to once again notify the authorities.

The rancher discharged warning shots upon observing a group of armed men passing by his residence, as he was concerned for the safety of himself and his wife.

Prosecutor Mike Jette of Santa Cruz County accused Kelly of exacerbating the situation, asserting that the rancher failed to perceive the presence of any armed individuals.

Cuen-Buitimea had been expelled from the United States following allegations of repeated unauthorized entry into the country.

Arizona has had a significant increase in illegal border crossings, making it one of the primary areas affected by the rise in illegal immigration under President Joe Biden’s administration.

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