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Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly received a mistrial after he was accused of shooting dead an unarmed Mexican migrant on his land because only one of the jurors believed he was guilty.

Kelly, 75, was accused of killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea on January 30, 2023, at his home in Nogales, near the Mexican border. 

His defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp said only one juror wanted to convict and seven jurors wanted to acquit. The defense wanted the defense for the jury to continue deliberations, but the judge decided to end the case. 

Mistrial declared in case of Arizona rancher accused of murdering Mexican migrant on his land – as his lawyer reveals how many jurors thought he was innocent

Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly received a mistrial after he was accused of shooting dead an unarmed Mexican migrant on his land because only one of the jurors believed he was guilty 

Kelly's defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp said only one juror wanted to convict and seven jurors wanted to acquit. The defense wanted the defense for the jury to continue deliberations, but the judge decided to end the case

Kelly’s defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp said only one juror wanted to convict and seven jurors wanted to acquit. The defense wanted the defense for the jury to continue deliberations, but the judge decided to end the case

Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, was shot dead on January 30 2023 while on Kelly's land. He was wearing combat boots and was carrying a radio - which the border patrol chief says suggested he was part of the cartel

Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, was shot dead on January 30 2023 while on Kelly’s land. He was wearing combat boots and was carrying a radio – which the border patrol chief says suggested he was part of the cartel

‘We believe in our gut there was no way the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt,’ she told journalists outside the courthouse. 

‘They won’t wear me down,’ Kelly said after the decision, according to the Arizona Republic.

Kelly was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Cuen-Buitimea, 48, who lived just south of the border in Nogales.

Prosecutors said Kelly recklessly fired nine shots from an AK-47 rifle toward a group of men about 100 yards away on his cattle ranch.

Kelly has said he fired warning shots in the air, but he didn´t shoot directly at anyone.

Court officials took jurors to Kelly´s ranch as well as a section of the border. Kelly was also charged with aggravated assault that day against another person in the group, including a man from Honduras who was living in Mexico and who testified during the trial that he had gone into the U.S. that day seeking work.

The other migrants weren´t injured and they all made it back to Mexico.

Kelly, 75, was accused of killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea on January 30, 2023, at his home in Nogales, near the Mexican border

Kelly, 75, was accused of killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea on January 30, 2023, at his home in Nogales, near the Mexican border

Prosecutors said Kelly recklessly fired nine shots from an AK-47 rifle toward a group of men, including Cuen-Buitimea, about 100 yards (90 meters) away on his cattle ranch

Prosecutors said Kelly recklessly fired nine shots from an AK-47 rifle toward a group of men, including Cuen-Buitimea, about 100 yards (90 meters) away on his cattle ranch

Lowthorp believes the message the mistrial sends to prosecutors is clear: ‘Try it again and maybe this time we will have all fair jurors that follow the law.’

She promises to represent Kelly if he is forced to go to trial again. 

Kelly is confident he will be acquitted if there’s another trial: ”They want ice water in you-know-where. And they ain’t got it. So, it is what it is.’ 

‘We got no choice. We have to do it,’ he told the Arizona Daily Star. ‘If you’re in a sand trap, you gotta keep hacking until you get out.’ 

The Santa Cruz County Attorney´s Office can still decide whether to retry Kelly for any charge, or drop the case all together. A status hearing was scheduled for next Monday afternoon, when prosecutors could inform the judge if they plan to refile the case.

Many on social media have called for Kelly to be free and for the county to not try him again

The decision came after jurors failed to reach a unanimous decision after more than two full days of deliberation.

DailyMail.com has reached out to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office for comment.

Kelly is confident he will be acquitted if there's another trial: ''They want ice water in you-know-where. And they ain't got it. So, it is what it is'

Kelly is confident he will be acquitted if there’s another trial: ”They want ice water in you-know-where. And they ain’t got it. So, it is what it is’ 

Kelly's ranch in Nogales is a stone's throw from the border. Nogales is a known hot zone for drug smuggling, where the cartel is 'particularly aggressive', according to border agents

Kelly’s ranch in Nogales is a stone’s throw from the border. Nogales is a known hot zone for drug smuggling, where the cartel is ‘particularly aggressive’, according to border agents 

After Monday’s ruling, Consul General Marcos Moreno Baez of the Mexican consulate in Nogales, Arizona, said he would wait with Cuen-Buitimea´s two adult daughters on Monday evening to meet with prosecutors from Santa Cruz County Attorney´s Office to learn about the implications of a mistrial. 

‘Mexico will continue to follow the case and continue to accompany the family, which wants justice.’ said Moreno. ‘We hope for a very fair outcome.’

Kelly’s wife noted that the case has lasted over a year, and continues to hang over their family. 

‘I feel like I’ve been in suspension for 15 months, and I’m getting nowhere, and I’m still on that treadmill. We have to wait a little longer,’ Wanda Kelly said. 

Kelly was charged with second-degree murder in killing of Cuen-Buitimea, 48, who lived just south of the border

Kelly was charged with second-degree murder in killing of Cuen-Buitimea, 48, who lived just south of the border 

Kelly has said he fired warning shots in the air, but he didn´t shoot directly at anyone. Pictured: Kelly leaving the courthouse on March 22 with his lawyer Kathy Lowthorp

Kelly has said he fired warning shots in the air, but he didn´t shoot directly at anyone. Pictured: Kelly leaving the courthouse on March 22 with his lawyer Kathy Lowthorp

County Attorney Michael Jette addresses jurors during closing arguments

County Attorney Michael Jette addresses jurors during closing arguments

Cuen-Buitimea lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico. He had previously entered the U.S. illegally several times and was deported, most recently in 2016, court records show.

The nearly monthlong trial coincided with a presidential election year that has drawn widespread interest in border security.

Fink had told jurors that if they could not reach a verdict on the second-degree murder charge, they could try for a unanimous decision on a lesser charge of reckless manslaughter or negligent homicide. 

A second-degree murder conviction would have brought a minimum prison sentence of ten years.

The jury got the case Thursday afternoon, deliberated briefly that day and then all of Friday and Monday before the judge declared a mistrial. 





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