U.S. rancher charged with murdering Mexican trespasser claims self-defense, fired ‘warning shots’

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

The lawyer for George Alan Kelly, the elderly Arizona rancher accused of first-degree murder for shooting a Mexican man trespassing on his property, says he saw armed men approaching him pointing an AK-47 rifle at him and fired warning shots to scare them away.

Kelly is being held on $1 million bail and is charged with first-degree, premeditated murder for the Jan. 30 shooting of a man later reported to be a Mexican national named Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, on his Kino Springs, Arizona ranch, according to Fox News.

“The leader of the armed group of men saw Mr. Kelly and pointed an AK-47 right at him,” wrote Brenna Larkin, Kelly’s court-appointed attorney, in a court filing reported by Fox News.

“Mr. Kelly, fearing for his life and safety, fired several shots from his rifle, hoping to scare them away from him, his wife, his animals, and his home. As he shot, Mr. Kelly took care to aim well over the heads of the armed group of men. The group then began running into the desert surrounding his home. Once the group had fled, Mr. Kelly walked over to his barn to see if it was safe and secure.”

The million-dollar bail has outraged conservatives and those concerned about criminal activity at the border due to relaxed border enforcement under President Biden. After the left-leaning GoFundMe site booted all online fundraising for Kelly, saying it bans appeals on behalf of anyone accused of a violent crime, supporters moved to the Christian giving site GiveSendGo and quickly surpassed the organizer’s original goal of $25,000. The amount raised at press time was more than $281,000.

Fox News reports that Kelly “saw a group of men moving through the trees around his home. They were armed with AK-47 rifles, dressed in khakis and camouflaged clothing, and carrying large backpacks … None of them were known to him. He had not given any of them permission to come onto his land.”

“That’s when Kelly, ‘understandably concerned,’ retrieved his rifle and told his wife to stay inside the home before firing warning shots at the group, including the leader who ‘pointed an AK-47 right at him,'” reports the Daily Mail. “The group fled and it wasn’t until hours later when the man’s body was discovered by Kelly, even after U.S. Border Patrol had come to inspect the property and allegedly found nothing.”

The frail, elderly Kelly’s age has been reported by various media and observers as 73, 74, and 78. At a recent preliminary hearing, he asked the presiding judge for reading glasses so he could read a provided document. He also begged to be able to speak with his wife, who he said was left alone at his home with no one to take care of her or the sprawling ranch, which is near the town of Nogales, Arizona. Photos of Kelly’s ranch house and the surrounding land can be viewed in the Daily Mail report.

Larkin’s court filing said the deceased man had “a radio with him, and he was wearing tactical boots, indicating he was possibly involved in illegal activity,” according to the Daily Mail, which last week reported that Cuen-Butimea “had a history of illegal border crossings in the area near where Kelly and his wife live.”

The GiveSendGo page for Kelly, launched by Shannon Pritchard, names Kelly’s wife, Wanda, as the recipient of the donations. Fox News mentioned the GiveSendGo page but did not provide a link to it.

The following is taken from Pritchard’s GiveSendGo donation page for Kelly:

“George Alan Kelly, a 73 year old farmer is in the Santa Cruz, Arizona, jail pending a $1 million bond for killing an invader to the United States, who was near his home on the border with Mexico. Neighbors say that he had been having difficulty keeping invaders out and say that Mr. Kelly would have acted in good faith.

“It is a tragedy that a simple farmer, who should be protected by the government has been abandoned and had to defend himself. That is bad enough, but the government that caused this, now wishes to persecute him. Not only that, they are holding this old farmer on 1 million dollar bail, which anyone can see is purely political. This will ruin the remaining years of this gentleman’s life, through no fault of his own. Are you as outraged as I am? This man should not have to spend a night in jail….

“This is amazing, when I started this campaign I set a goal of 25k and thought it would be hard to reach. But the injustice shown to Mr. Kelly has moved many hundreds of Christian Patriots to rally to his defense. The communists in charge of Santa Cruz will not let Mr. Kelly even talk to his wife according to the news reports.  So he does not yet know of your support and generosity.”

The largest gift recorded was $2,500 by Harold Green yesterday, who added this message: “Such a travesty what this administration is doing to American citizens. Stand strong Mr. and Mrs. Kelly. You were defending against a known repeat border crosser that this administration continues to encourage … !!!! We got you!”



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