Mexico wants Arizona rancher’s murder charge upgraded after migrant shooting


The government wants an Arizona rancher to face more serious charges for allegedly killing a migrant who trespassed on his property, a Mexican official said Friday.

An Arizona judge said last week that George Alan Kelly, 74, should face second-degree murder and aggravated assault charges in the death of Gabriel Kuen-Buetima, who died on Kelly’s ranch outside Nogales, Arizona. was killed in

He initially faced a charge of first degree murder.

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George Alan Kelly, 73, is accused of shooting the Mexican immigrant on his property in January. Kelly said he fired warning shots and never fired directly at anyone. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Vanessa Calva, Mexico’s head of consular security, told US prosecutors that the Mexican government believes Kelly should face charges of first-degree murder. He said Kuen-Buitimia, 48, was unarmed, running and was shot in the back.

Prosecutors allege that Kelly opened fire with an AK-47 rifle on about eight unarmed migrants on his farm on January 30, when Cuen-Buetima tried to flee. Two migrants in the group later told authorities that Kelly shot at them as well, but they were not killed and escaped over a fence in Mexico.

Kelly’s attorney, Brenna Larkin, said her client fired warning shots at the immigrants and that he feared for the safety of himself, his wife and his property. He said he hadEn People with AK-47 rifles and backpacks walking through the property.

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George Alan Kelly, 73, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting an immigrant on his ranch just north of the border.

George Alan Kelly, 73, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting an immigrant on his farm just north of the border. (Santa Cruz County Clerk of Court)

U.S. court records show Cuen-Buetima has been convicted of illegal entry and deported back to Mexico several times, most recently in 2016, according to The Associated Press.

Kelly is free on $1 million bond.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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