George Alan Kelly
The Mexican government wants the murder charge against an Arizona rancher upgraded after he fatally shot an illegal alien on his property.
George Alan Kelly, 73, was arrested for killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, on his Arizona ranch in Kino Springs just outside of Nogales, Mexico on January 30.
Kelly was being held at the Santa Cruz County jail on $1 million bond, but he posted bail and was released from custody last Wednesday.
According to reports, Gabriel Cuen-Butimea has a history of illegally crossing into the United States and multiple deportations.
Authorities found a Mexican voter registration card on the decedent.
According to the defense lawyers, Mr. Kelly fired warning shots after he saw a group of men dressed in camouflaged clothing point an AK-47 right at him.
George Alan Kelly was careful to shoot above their heads, the lawyers said.
The rancher later discovered the deceased man after he went to check on his horse.
George Alan Kelly was initially charged with first-degree murder, but a judge recently downgraded his charge to second-degree murder during an evidentiary hearing in court.
“That’s a significant change in the charge,” Judge Emilio Velasquez said. “Second-degree murder is, frankly, a more complicated theory of the case for both the state and the defense.”
Kelly’s attorney entered a ‘not guilty’ plea during the hearing last Friday.
The Mexican government told prosecutors they want George Alan Kelly’s murder charge upgraded because he killed an unarmed Mexican national.
According to a former Border Patrol Chief, the illegal alien shot on George Alan Kelly’s property was likely a cartel drug smuggler.
Fox News reported:
A Mexican official on Friday said the government wanted an Arizona rancher to face a more severe charge for allegedly killing a migrant who crossed onto his property.
Vanessa Calva, Mexico’s head of consular protection, told U.S. prosecutors that the Mexican government believes Kelly should face a first-degree murder charge. She said Cuen-Buitimea, 48, was unarmed, fleeing and was shot in the back.
Prosecutors allege Kelly opened fire with an AK-47 rifle on about eight unarmed migrants he encountered on Jan. 30 on his ranch, striking Cuen-Buitimea as he tried to flee. Two migrants in the group later told authorities that Kelly shot at them as well, but they were not hit and escaped over a fence back into Mexico.
Kelly’s lawyer, Brenna Larkin, said her client shot warning shots above the migrants and that he feared for the safety of himself, his wife and his property. He said he had seen people with AK-47 rifles and backpacks passing through the property.
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