Arizona rancher who killed illegal on his property charged with 1st degree murder, held on $1 million bail

by WorldTribune Staff, February 9, 2023

On Jan. 30, 73-year-old Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly shot and killed an illegal alien on his property.

George Alan Kelly

Though authorities have not released full details of the shooting, Kelly was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, who has been tentatively identified as a Mexican citizen.

Kelly’s arrest was preceded by authorities finding the dead body of Cuen-Butimea on Kelly’s cattle ranch which is 1.5 miles north of the border with Mexico.

Kelly is being held at the Santa Cruz County Jail in Nogales, Arizona. His bail was set at $1 million by Justice Emilio Velasquez.

Kelly requested the judge reduce his bail so he could return home and take care of his wife.

“She’s there by herself… nobody to take care of her, the livestock or the ranch,” he said, according to Nogales International. “And I’m not going anywhere. I can’t come up with a million dollars.”

On Feb. 8, Kelly’s court-appointed attorney filed a two-week delay, citing the overwhelming scale of the case as reason for her to need more time to prepare.

It means Kelly must stay in jail for another two weeks at least, awaiting a new attorney or for his current attorney to file a request for bail.

GoFundMe has removed multiple pages set up by individuals who want to help Kelly.

Cuen-Butimea has entered the United States multiple times illegally and was deported repeatedly, according to reports.

Based on Arizona law, an individual can fight, and even kill, in order to protect himself or others.

The state’s Justification statute, which is similar to Florida’s “stand your ground” law, says “a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful physical force.”

The burden lies on prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in using deadly force during self-defense.

In December 2022, the number of illegal immigrant encounters along the southern border was 251,487, a new monthly record, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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