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Jurors don’t have a verdict yet in an Arizona rancher’s trial for fatally shooting a migrant – San Diego Union-Tribune

PHOENIX — A southern Arizona jury is still deliberating in the trial of a rancher accused of shooting and killing an unarmed migrant on his land near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Judge Thomas Fink sent the jury home for the weekend after they couldn't reach a verdict on Friday. The jury will resume deliberations in court Monday morning.

Amid widespread attention on border security in a presidential election year, the jury accepted the case Thursday afternoon after a nearly month-long trial. George Alan Kelly, 75, Charged with second-degree murder The shooting of Gabriel Kueng Buitimea on January 30, 2023.

Quyen Buitimea, 48, had been living in Nogales, Mexico, just south of the border, and according to court records, had entered the United States illegally on multiple occasions before, most recently being deported in 2016.

Amid intensifying anti-immigrant rhetoric and presidential campaign rallies, some on the political right are siding with ranchers.

Prosecutor Mike Jett said Kelly recklessly fired nine shots. AK-47 rifle He was about 100 yards (90 metres) away on his property, heading towards a group of men, including Kueng Buitimea.

Kelly said he fired warning shots into the air but did not fire directly at anyone.

Jette said Kueng Vuitimea suffered three broken ribs and a severed aorta and his unarmed body was found 115 yards (105 metres) from Kelly's ranch.

Investigators found nine spent AK-47 shell casings on the patio of Kelly's home, but the bullet that killed Kuyen Buitimea was never recovered.

Judge Jette urged the jury to find Kelly guilty of manslaughter or manslaughter if they could not convict him of murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Jette, the Santa Cruz County deputy prosecutor, pointed to inconsistencies in Kelly's earlier statements to police, in which he said he saw between five and 15 men at the ranch. Kelly initially told Border Patrol agents he was too far away to see if the migrants had guns, but later told a sheriff's detective the men were running with guns, according to trial testimony.

In her closing argument, attorney Brenna Larkin said Kelly was “in a life-or-death situation” and urged the jury to acquit him.

“He faced a threat just outside his home,” Larkin said. “He was entirely justified in using lethal force, and he did not.”

No one else in the group was injured and everyone returned to Mexico.

Kelly's wife, Wanda, testified that she saw two men carrying rifles and backpacks pass by the ranch house on the day of the shooting, but she claimed not to have heard any gunshots, although her husband reported hearing them.

Also testifying was Daniel Ramirez, a Honduran national living in Mexico, who said he had traveled with Quyen Buitimea that day to the United States seeking work and was with him when he was shot. Ramirez described Quyen Buitimea as clutching his chest and falling forward.

The trial began on March 22 and included a tour of Kelly's 170-acre (69-hectare) ranch outside Nogales.

Kelly was also charged with aggravated assault. He previously The transaction was rejected If he had pleaded guilty, the charge would have been reduced to one count of manslaughter.

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