Mistrial In Case Against Rancher Accused Of Killing Migrant

While communities across the U.S. have been forced to confront the consequences of unchecked illegal immigration as a result of President Joe Biden’s lax border policies, those living near the nation’s southern border have been dealing with such factors for decades.

Americans living in border states routinely find undocumented migrants trespassing on their property and, in some cases, presenting a threat to their lives.

In the case of 75-year-old Arizona rancher George Kelly, one encounter with migrants on his property resulted in a deadly confrontation that led to second-degree murder and aggravated assault charges against him. 

In January 2023, Kelly allegedly fired a series of shots in the direction of the immigrants he spotted on his property, one of which struck and killed 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, a Mexican national who had been deported from the U.S. several years earlier. 

Although Kelly described his action as an act of self-defense in an effort to scare off the trespassers, he was nonetheless charged and faced as much as a decade behind bars when the case went to trial. 

A jury failed to reach a verdict, however, and the presiding judge declared a mistrial in the case this week. Jurors began deliberation last week and, after being sent home over the weekend, resumed discussions on Monday but were unable to arrive at a unanimous opinion.

Brenna Larkin, Kelly’s defense attorney, presented her client’s behavior as restrained considering the “life-or-death situation” he encountered that day.

“He was confronted with a threat right outside his home,” she said. “He would have been absolutely justified to use deadly force, but he did not.”

She went on to reject the common leftist narrative that undocumented migrants illegally cross the border, by and large, to work hard and pursue a better life.

“Long story short, this is simply not somebody who’s looking for the American dream,” she said of Cuen-Buitimea. “There’s no evidence that this person is here for those kinds of benign purposes. And we bring that up, not, you know, to be judgmental about Gabriel or to not have compassion for him. But when people are involved in a criminal lifestyle, it’s dangerous. It’s more inherently dangerous than simply being a migrant who’s coming here. So it’s relevant for that reason.”

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