Judge dismisses all charges against Arizona rancher who shot and killed illegal on his land

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News July 10, 2024

The Arizona rancher who was charged with shooting and killing an illegal alien on his land will not face re-trial, a judge has ruled.

George Alan Kelly

George Alan Kelly, 75, was charged in the killing of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a Mexican national found dead on Kelly’s sprawling ranch in January 2023.

The case led to a mistrial in April when jurors failed to reach a verdict after one hold-out refused to acquit.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink on Tuesday dismissed with prejudice all charges against Kelly.

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Judge Fink denied the prosecution’s request to keep the case open on the possibility that new witnesses could appear.

“The interests of justice are not advanced where the only thing to be accomplished by a dismissal without prejudice, where there is not possibility that a re-trial will occur, is the harassment of the Defendant,” Fink said in his ruling.

“The interests of justice are not served by the dismissal without prejudice for case that cannot and will not be re-tried,” the judge wrote. “The State’s motion to dismiss without prejudice is denied. In the interests of justice the case is ordered dismissed with prejudice.”

Prosecutors alleged that Kelly recklessly fired his AK-47 nine times at a group of migrants 100 yards away who were trespassing on his 170-acre cattle ranch near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The group, which included Cuen-Buitimea, were allegedly running from border patrol agents, according to law enforcement officials.

Cuen-Buitimea, who was found with a bullet hole in his back on Kelly’s ranch, had previously entered the U.S. illegally several times and was deported, most recently in 2016, court records show.

Kelly said he fired warning shots in the air to scare the group off and never intended to hit, let alone kill anyone.

The defense said authorities were lying about Kelly admitting to shooting at multiple people.

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