Case Against Rancher in Arizona Accused of Shooting Illegal Migrant Dropped

[Photo Credit: By Webmaster102, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17615720]

A 75-year-old Arizona rancher, who was charged with the murder of an undocumented immigrant who trespassed on his land, will reportedly not face a retrial as the jury was unable to reach a conviction after several days of deliberation earlier this month.

The Santa Cruz County prosecutors said on Monday that they will not pursue a new trial for George Alan Kelly in relation to the death of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a 48-year-old individual who was discovered deceased on Kelly’s premises in January 2023.

In March 2023, Kelly, who asserted his innocence in the shooting of Cuen-Buitimea, entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.

The determination to not pursue a retrial for Kelly was made during a four-week legal proceeding. Kelly’s defense team stated that the jury had reached a verdict of not guilty with a majority of 7-1 in favor of the rancher.

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.

Prosecutor Mike Jette of Santa Cruz County accused Kelly of exacerbating the situation, asserting that the rancher did not witness anyone carrying weapons and alleging that Kelly was responsible for the death of Cuen-Buitimea.

The ruling was a source of disappointment for Marcos Moreno Báez, Mexico’s consul general in Nogales.

Cuen-Buitimea has been deported from the United States several times following repeated recorded instances of entering the nation.

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