Wife testifies in rancher’s murder trial

Craig Smith
4 Min Read

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — The wife of a rancher charged with murder testified in his trial Wednesday. George Alan Kelly is charged in the death of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea, a Mexican national crossing his land.

Prosecutors called his wife to testify about what she saw, heard and told law enforcement the day of the shooting.

Normally one spouse can not be required to testify against another. But an Arizona appeals court ruled Wanda Kelly lost that special protection when she made voluntary statements earlier in the investigation. So Wanda Kelly had to testify and sometimes she lost her patience.

She told the jury she had just finished lunch and her husband was making his when he told her he heard a gunshot.

Mrs. Kelly says she looked out a window of their house and saw two men crossing their land, wearing large backpacks and carrying rifles.

Kelly goes by his middle name, Alan. Mrs Kelly says when Alan Kelly sees trespassers he gets a gun and fires over their heads to warn them to stay away.

She says he grabbed his AK-47 assault rifle to fire warning shots that day.

Questioned by prosecutor Kim Hunley, Mrs. Kelly said Kelly grabbed his rifle and stepped outside.

Wanda Kelly: “ I just stood there, frozen.”

Kim Hunley/Prosecutor: “And what did you assume those shots were?”

Wanda Kelly: “I assume they were Alan shooting up in the air.”

Kim Hunley: ”And why did you assume that?

Wanda Kelly: “Because that’s what he does when he knows there are trespassers close, he shoots up in the air. You’re close enough. Go home.”

Kelly’s defense attorneys have suggested someone else fired the fatal shot. No bullet was ever recovered to compare to Kelly’s gun. The shot was powerful enough to pass through the victim’s body and be lost.

Hunley pressed Mrs. Kelly about how many shots Kelly fired because she told different investigators different numbers.

“I was not counting.” She answered. “My husband was out there facing these guys with guns! And you think I’m going to stand there and count how many times I hear a shot?! You’re crazy!”

Wanda Kelly later apologized to the jury and Judge Thomas Fink for losing her temper.

Questioned by one of her husband’s attorneys, Mrs. Kelly said she could not stand to watch as Alan Kelly stepped out of the house with his rifle.

“I was scared. I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going to happen to him.”

Kathy Lowthorp/Defense Attorney: “So where did you go?”

Wanda Kelly: “I hid behind the TV so I could not see out any of the windows. I told myself it will be bad enough to find him shot. I’m not gonna watch him explode.”

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing [email protected] or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.

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Craig Smith , www.kgun9.com
Santa Cruz County News , 2024-04-04 02:38:08
Tags: Craig Smith,George Alan Kelly,KGUN9,Mexican,Rancher,Santa Cruz County,Wanda Kelly,border,murder

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