Arizona Rancher Acquitted Of All Charges In Migrant Shooting Incident

George Alan Kelly, an Arizona rancher accused of shooting an illegal migrant on his property, has been acquitted, concluding a high-profile legal battle. The decision came after Arizona Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink dismissed all charges against Kelly, ensuring that the case cannot be retried.

Judge Fink justified the dismissal “with prejudice” by stating, “The interests of justice are not served by a dismissal without prejudice for a case that cannot and will not be retried. Harassment of the defendant under these circumstances is not just.”

The incident dates back to January 30, 2023, when Kelly was charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault. The charges stemmed from the death of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a Mexican national, who was crossing Kelly’s ranch near the Arizona-Mexico border. Prosecutors alleged that Kelly fired his AK-47 recklessly, hitting Cuen-Buitimea in the back from a distance of about 115 yards.

Kelly’s defense team argued that he fired warning shots to protect his property and wife, and did not intend to harm anyone. This argument led to a hung jury and a mistrial on April 22, as jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

Following the mistrial, prosecutors had the option to retry the case or drop it. They initially opted to drop the charges but sought to leave the door open for future prosecution if new evidence came to light. However, Judge Fink decided against this, stating, “The State’s motion to dismiss without prejudice is denied. In the interests of justice, the case is ordered dismissed with prejudice.”

This ruling closes the chapter on Kelly’s legal troubles, highlighting the complexities of property rights and border security issues in the southern United States.