Mistrial Declared in Case of George Kelly Fatally Shooting Migrant

A rancher was on trial for the killing of a Mexican national illegally on his ranch close to the border between the United States and Mexico. A judge in Arizona declared a mistrial on April 22.

The jury was deadlocked last Thursday. After continuing deliberations for almost seven hours on Friday, the jury notified the court in a notice that they couldn’t reach a verdict.

According to reports, George Alan Kelly (75) was charged with the suspected murder in the second degree of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea (48), a Mexico national, on January 30, 2023.

According to prosecutors, approximately one hundred yards away on his ranch, Kelly carelessly discharged nine rounds from an AK-47 weapon at a cluster of illegal migrant males, one of whom was Buitimea.

According to Kelly, he didn’t aim at anybody specifically. Instead, he shot into the air as a warning.

The defense said that Kelly’s home was in an area frequented by violent criminal gangs (rip crews) who abduct and rob illegal migrants and steal narcotics.

Although no bullet has been found in the one gunshot wound that struck Buitimea, the prosecution attempted to prove that Kelly’s AK-47 may have caused it.

The defense argued that, in the absence of evidence, it is impossible to determine whose firearm was responsible for Buitimea’s death. According to Kelly’s legal team, Buitimea may have fallen victim to other crimes at the border.

Earlier in the trial, Kelly turned down a plea deal that might have lowered his penalty to negligent homicide.

An illegal migrant from Honduras who claimed during the trial about how he had entered the U.S. that day seeking employment was one of eight individuals in the group.  Kelly also faced charges of aggravated assault against the Honduran national.  All of the other migrants were returned to Mexico.

The most recent deportation of Buitimea occurred in 2016, according to court documents, although he had already entered the United States illegally on many occasions before that.