/ Modified apr 18, 2024 4:47 p.m.

Jury starts deliberation in border rancher murder trial

George Alan Kelly has pled not guilty in the murder of a Mexican citizen.

Kelly deliberations George Alan Kelly listens to closing arguments Thursday, April 18, during the murder trial in the shooting death of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea. Kelly pled not guilty.
Photo courtesy Angela Gervasi/Nogales International

The jury began deliberations on Thursday afternoon in the murder trial of 75-year-old George Alan Kelly, a rancher charged in the shooting death of a Mexican citizen on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales. George Alan Kelly has pled not guilty.

Law enforcement recovered the body of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea on Kelly’s property on Jan. 30, 2023, after Kelly called for help.

Defense attorney Brenna Larkin told jurors Thursday that investigators were biased against Kelly and improperly handled the case.

“The fact is, we’re probably never going to know what really happened to Gabriel, and we won’t know because the investigation in this case jumped to conclusions,” Larkin said. “They didn’t search when they should have. They didn’t preserve evidence that they should have. They didn’t do tests that they should have. And now we’ll never know. And when that’s the case, that now we’ll never know, that’s a not-guilty verdict.”

The defense says that Kelly saw a group of men on his property with guns and fired over their heads to scare them, making sure not to shoot anyone.

Prosecutor Mike Jette said Kelly shot at undocumented migrants Cuen and Daniel Ramirez from his porch as they crossed his property. Ramirez was a witness in the case.

“Without verbal warning, without a shout, without any indication to both Gabriel and Daniel, he points that weapon at these two men and shoots over and over and over again — nine times,” Moran said.

MORE: Border, Courts, Crime, News
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