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Prosecutors will not retry Arizona rancher accused of murder in shooting of trespassing illegal immigrant

Image  Thomas Stevenson

The prosecutors have declined to do a retrial.

A rancher who faced murder charges in Arizona for shooting an illegal immigrant who had trespassed onto his property near the southern border will not be retried after a mistrial ruled.

The jurors in the case of George Alan Kelly were not able to reach a decision about the verdict after deliberating for more than two days on the case, per the Associated Press.

On Monday, the prosecutors had the option to retry or drop the case. Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink dismissed the case as requested by the prosecution.

The 75-year-old was on trial for a month in Nogales on murder charges in the killing of 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea near Nogales, Arizona. The incident occurred during January 2023.

Cuen-Buitimea had previously been deported from the US in 2016 after entering the US on multiple occasions.

Prosecutors argued in the case that Kelly had recklessly fired nine shots from an AK-47 in the direction of a group of men who were trespassing on his cattle ranch. Kelly’s defense was that he fired warning shots in the air but did not aim at anyone.

A bullet reportedly hit Cuen-Buitimea but it was never recovered. 9 shell casings were found on Kelly’s porch, according to court documents.

Earlier in the case, the prosecution offered a plea deal to reduce the charges down to a to a single count of negligent homicide, however, Kelly refused.

In the defense’s closing arguments, attorney Brenna Larkin told the jury that Kelly “was confronted with a threat right outside his home.”

“He would have been absolutely justified to use deadly force, but he did not,” she added at the time. Kelly claimed to have heard another gunshot in testimony the day of the incident.

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