Judge declares mistrial in case of Arizona rancher charged with murder of Mexican national on border property

The jury in the Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly’s murder trial did not reach an unanimous verdict.

A jury failed to reach a decision in the case against Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly. He was accused of second degree murder in relation to the death of Mexican national who was found shot to death on his borderland farm in January 2023.

The jury began deliberating April 18. The judge who oversees the trial declared mistrial Monday after days of not being able to reach a decision.

The case revolved around the death of Mexican Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea who was found dead on Kelly’s 170-acre ranch near Keno Springs, outside Nogales in Arizona, on January 30, 2023.

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Kelly’s defence has countered prosecution’s claim that Cuen-Buitimea is an unarmed immigrant, and suggested cartel involvement in the death investigation.

“This is not someone who’s searching for the American Dream,” says Brenna Larkin, Kelly’s defense attorney. Brenna Larkin’s closing argument, Thursday, stated that there is no evidence to suggest this person has come for such benign purposes. “And we mention that not to judge Gabriel or not to have compassion for him. It’s dangerous when people live a criminal life. It’s much more dangerous to be a migrant than just coming here. It’s important for this reason.

Cuen-Buitimea illegally entered the United States multiple times before and was deported in 2016.

The jury heard testimony over the weeks regarding Kelly’s location and distance when the prosecution argued that he fatally wounded Cuen-Buitimea. They also heard about the motive for the gunshots.

The defense claimed Kelly had fired only warning shots from his patio in the morning. His wife, Wanda Kelly testified that she called their Border Patrol ranch liaison when she saw two armed men in camouflage carrying rifles and backpacks, walking around 100 feet away from their home. Kelly called Border Patrol to report the body after hours of searching the property.

The fatal bullet has never been recovered. A criminologist who was working pro-bono for Kelly’s defence, Dr. Ron Martinelli told Fox News Digital earlier that none of state witnesses had given any testimony to refute the defense theory. The defense claimed that a “rip crew” — a band of bandits sometimes affiliated with cartels — could have shot Cuen Buitimea dead and robbed the man.

The defense questioned Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway about an online clip in which he speculated that Kelly would “go hunt some Mexicans.”

A defense attorney asked Hathaway, “You said to Big Super that we caught this rancher firing at migrants” and then that there are people who would like to hunt some Mexicans — did you make that statement?” Hathaway appeared in a video by Big Super, a real estate YouTube personality.

“Yeah I did,’ Hathway replied. “I made a colloquial statement, ‘There’s some people who want to hunt some Mexicans. Yeah I did.”

Martinelli told Fox News Digital Hathaway had violated Mexican law and protocol of the U.S. State Department by setting up an unauthorized interview with Daniel Ramirez, in Nogales Mexico, a few weeks after the shooting. Ramirez, according to the prosecution, was the only witness of Cuen-Buitimea being shot and then fled across the border.

Ramirez said that he had previously transported drugs across the border but not on the date of the shooting in January 2023.

Ramirez was not even in the room, according to Ramirez. The jury had the opportunity to visit Kelly’s ranch in order to gain a better understanding of the area.

Larkin stated that “the only conclusion one can draw based on Daniel’s description of the property is that Daniel was not there.” “You cannot convict Mr. Kelly of aggravated assualt against Daniel, because Daniel wasn’t there.” You cannot convict him of any offense, including second-degree murder, as they didn’t prove that Alan shot the person.

Larkin said that Kelly faced “a threat to life” and that “a rifle was pointed at him,” which meant that Kelly would have been justified using deadly force.

Larkin’s closing argument stated that the rancher, “didn’t use any deadly physical force.” “He fired up into the sky, over the trees, and over where the people were, to get the threat stopped.”

The law does not state that you can’t use less force to defend yourself. It doesn’t matter if you were in the middle a nowhere, or if you were just out there. This isn’t downtown Nogales. This is not a populous area. This is an isolated area. Larkin said to the jury, “It is empty.” “He can shoot warning shots to defend himself and his wife. That’s what he did. It’s what any man would do if he cared about his family and home in the situation he found himself in.

Mike Jette, the prosecutor, told the jury in his closing argument that Kelly’s actions were “not justified” after he saw “two unarmed people walking two fences apart” and then “pulled out your AK-47 and stepped on the patio with no verbal warning, and shot nine times.”

He escalates the situation. Jette told me on Thursday that his wife was fine. “You don’t have the right use deadly force to protect someone who doesn’t need to be protected.” You do not have the legal right to use deadly violence when your home or yard is not in danger. “No right at all.”

“Gabriel was shot and Daniel was also. Gabriel was killed by an AK-47, a powerful weapon. The prosecutor stated that the entry and exit wounds were aligned with the defendant’s properties. No verbal warning, just step out. The defendant fired his AK-47 nine times. It is proven by the shell casings. The ejection pattern shows where he stood. The position and orientation of Gabriel’s body is proof that the shot came from there.

Jette concluded by saying that if the jury is not convinced of the charge of second-degree homicide, it can still convict Kelly for lesser charges such as manslaughter or negligent homicide.

Kelly was in the news last year after he posted a bond of $1 million on a charge of first-degree murder for