Prosecutor in Kelly trial highlights conflicting accounts of migrant killing

Craig Smith
3 Min Read

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN) — The rancher on trial for shooting and killing an undocumented border crosser on his land had no justification to pull the trigger—that’s part of the opening statements today in the second degree murder trial of George Alan Kelly.

Prosecutor Kim Hunley said Gabriel Cuen Buitimea and a companion were no threat to Kelly and his wife, when he fired his AK-47 in their direction—that they were more than a hundred yards away, moving towards Mexico, not towards the Kelly house.

Livestream of opening statements below. View morning session in the video player above.
(Warning: some of the images and language may be disturbing and viewer discretion is advised.)

“Out of nowhere, without saying a thing, without any legal justification, George Alan Kelly let off a barrage of semi automatic assault rifle fire at these two men,” Hunley said during her opening statement.

Hunley says through the day Kelly made a series of evasive, conflicting, phone calls and statements to Border Patrol, to 911 and to Sheriff’s Deputies. Through the day he claimed more and more intruders were on his land and made conflicting statements about whether or not they had guns.

In one call to 911, he referred to the body as an animal. He only even admitted firing his gun after he was a half-hour into a detective’s interrogation.

Investigators found nine shell casings from Kelly’s gun near the back of his house, and say when Kelly led them to the body of the victim, the entry wound in his back lined up with the path it would have traveled from Kelly’s house.

The fatal bullet was never recovered. The round was powerful enough to enter Cuen-Buitimea’s back and exit out the front of his body where it was lost in the landscape.

This is a live report while opening statements are occurring. The attorney for Kelly’s defense has still to deliver their opening statements. Craig Smith will have a full report in our Friday evening newscasts.

The trial is expected to last until April 19th.



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Craig Smith ,
Santa Cruz County News , 2024-03-22 20:44:23
Tags: Santa Cruz County

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