(USNewsMag.com) – An elderly cattle rancher in Arizona has been charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing a 48-year-old Mexican citizen on his property. The incident occurred outside Nogales near Kino Springs on January 30th, 2023.
George Alan Kelly and his wife own a ranch just one and a half miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. The ranch was described as being “located in an isolated area” by Nogales International. Despite holding the 73-year-old on a $1 million bond, the Chief Deputy of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Gerardo Castillo, told Nogales International that they were still investigating the incident and attempting to clarify the circumstances under which Kelly shot and killed 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea. According to statements made by investigators, it does not appear that the two men knew each other.
The U.S. Border Patrol reportedly called the Sheriff’s Office at 2:40 pm on the day in question reporting a “possible active shooter.” They told the dispatcher that a person named “Allen” claimed he had seen a group of people running and that the man was “unsure” if he was being shot at. However, nothing was found when sheriff’s deputies responded to that location.
Several hours later, another call came in to report shots fired on the same property. At 6:24 pm, law enforcement found the body of a Hispanic man with a single shotgun wound.
During his first court appearance, Kelly asked the judge to reconsider his bond because his wife was alone on the ranch with no help. The Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez declined to alter the amount and informed the defendant that his attorney would be able to request a reduction of his bond at a later date. Kelly is being represented by a court-appointed attorney, Brenna Larkin.
The identity of the deceased was initially based on a Mexican voter registration card found on the body, according to AZ Central. According to federal court records, the man had been deported multiple times and had illegally entered the U.S. via the Mexican border as recently as 2016.
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