"Let Me Go Home, Okay?": Mistrial Declared For Arizona Rancher Accused Of Killing Illegal Immigrant On His Property

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 24, 2024 - 01:30 AM

A mistrial was declared in the case of an Arizona rancher accused of fatally shooting an illegal immigrant on his property near the US-Mexico border, after the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision following two full days of deliberation.

George Alan Kelly, 75, was charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 30, 2023 shooting of 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, who was in the United States illegally.

"Based upon the jury's inability to reach a verdict on any count," said Arizona Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink, adding "This case is in mistrial."

According to one of Kelly's defense attorneys, Kathy Lowthorp, just one juror was voting 'guilty,' which is why their legal team pushed for deliberations to continue.

"There was one hold out for guilt, the rest were not guilty. So seven not guilty, one guilty," said Lowthorp. "We believe in our gut that there was no way the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt."

The Santa Cruz County Attorney's office can still retry Kelly for any charge, or drop the case. 

Prosecutors accused Kelly of recklessly firing nine shots from an AK-47 rifle toward a group of men who were trespassing on his cattle ranch after running from Border Patrol agents, roughly 115 yeards away. He was also accused of providing inconsistent statements throughout the investigation - initially failing to tell officials that he had fired his weapon, and then allegedly claiming that the illegal immigrants were part of a group of 10-15 people armed with AR-style rifles - and that he'd heard gunshots.

Kelly's attorney said that he had fired "warning shots."

"He does not believe that any of his warning shots could have possibly hit the person or caused the death," she said at the time. "All the shooting that Mr. Kelly did on the date of the incident was in self-defense and justified.

After Monday's ruling, Consul General Marcos Moreno Baez of the Mexican consulate in Nogales, Arizona, said he would wait with Cuen-Buitimea's two adult daughters on Monday evening to meet with prosecutors from Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office to learn about the implications of a mistrial.

"Mexico will continue to follow the case and continue to accompany the family, which wants justice." said Moreno. "We hope for a very fair outcome."

Kelly's defense attorney Brenna Larkin did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after the ruling was issued. Larkin had asked Fink to have jurors keep deliberating another day. -CBS News

Following the mistrial, Kelly said: "Let me go home, okay? That alright with y’all? It is what it is and it will be what it will be. I will keep fighting forever. I won’t stop."