73-Yr-Old AZ Rancher Charged with 1st Degree Murder for Fatally Shooting Illegal Alien on His Property – Held on $1 Million Bond

Rancher George Alan Kelly, 73

by Jim Clayborn

Kino Springs, AZ – A 73-year-old Arizona rancher was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting a Mexican migrant (likely an illegal alien) on his ranch.

George Alan Kelly, 73, was arrested for killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, on his Arizona ranch in Kino Springs just outside of Nogales, Mexico on January 30.

Kelly is being held at the Santa Cruz County jail on $1 million bond.

George Kelly asked the judge to reduce his bail so he can go home to take care of his wife.

“She’s there by herself… nobody to take care of her, the livestock or the ranch,” he said, according to Nogales International. “And I’m not going anywhere. I can’t come up with a million dollars,” he said.

According to reports, Gabriel Cuen-Butimea has a history of illegally crossing into the United States and multiple deportations.

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He is believed to have been in the US illegally when he was fatally shot.

Authorities found a Mexican voter registration card on the decedent.

Nogales International reported:

A 73-year-old man is being held on a first-degree murder charge after authorities say they discovered the body of a still-unidentified male on his Kino Springs property Monday evening.

George Alan Kelly made his initial appearance Tuesday morning at Nogales Justice Court, where Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez set bond at $1 million.

Chief Deputy Gerardo Castillo of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said investigators were still trying to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident, as well as establish a motive.

A sheriff’s dispatch report shows a call coming in at 2:40 p.m. Monday from the U.S. Border Patrol, relaying information about a “possible active shooter” in the area of Sagebrush Road. The Border Patrol had apparently received a report from a person at the scene, who mentioned a “group of people running” and said he “was unsure if he was getting shot at as well.”


The entry identified the person at the scene as “Allen.”

Castillo said sheriff’s deputies responded to the area following that report, but found nothing.

However, at 5:56 p.m., the sheriff’s office received another report of shots fired at the property. This time, at 6:24 p.m., deputies located the body of a deceased adult Hispanic male, Castillo said.

There was no weapon found on or near the victim, whose body was discovered approximately 100 yards from Kelly’s home with one visible gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff.

Arizona law allows you to use physical force and deadly force when reasonable to prevent several serious crimes – including burglary in the first and second degree.

Although there is no explicit “Stand Your Ground” law, Arizona does not require individuals to retreat before defending themselves when they are in a threatening situation. 


18 thoughts on “73-Yr-Old AZ Rancher Charged with 1st Degree Murder for Fatally Shooting Illegal Alien on His Property – Held on $1 Million Bond

    1. I’m pretty sure the ride would have been the same……….But reading this account it must be a damn busy spot if the Sheriff was getting this many calls on “shots fired” way out in the /Az badlands(?) Must be a real popular “touriste” route, huh??
      In most of the U.S. it is a standard legal principle that Deadly Force cannot be used to protect property except in specific cases where the unauthorized possession/use of such property would present a danger to the population at large; Think of nuclear material. But the theft of a firearm(s) would produce a similar imminent threat (IMO). And or the theft of a vehicle capable of attaining such a speed and/or of such size and weight as to pose an ongoing danger, i.e. dump truck, bulldozer, etc. (Here again, my opinion based on a limited regional knowledge of Deadly Force statutes).

  1. Whether he’s a member or not, Arizona Cattle Growers Association needs to step up and help this rancher with legal defense.

  2. Arizona has the Castle Law. A man’s home is his castle. This makes me sick. I live close to the border .
    Last year (?) , within 2 miles from mr, Illegals broke into a home, while the husband was in town. They beat the 80 some years, wife almost to death. Are we suppose to wait until your love ones are dead before we defend our property or lives. Illegal means that they have no rights. The cross over the border to rob , steal and kill. Under Biden, most ranchers sleep with a gun. OUR RIGHT.

    1. Its called Castle Doctrine, and Arizona doesnt really have it. In Arizona you are allowed to defend people or property ANYWHERE you are legally able to be. Illegals also DO have rights. Everyone on American soil has Rights under our Constitution.

      1. The United States Constitution preserves the rights of Americans, not the citizens of every country. Otherwise, every illegal alien would have “The right to keep and bear arms”. This shooting is being prosecuted under State law.

    2. The mistake Kelly really made here is being heard. And, not realizing (?) that the system in his area is completely Hispanic. Racist? Them or me? We beat them fair and square in the 1830’s. Looks like round 2 has started and we’re still in the corner………..Communists have taken over this country and no country so taken has ever voted themselves out of communism!!

  3. Such crap. We need to flood the judge with letter calls emails stating he was within his right to defend his property.

  4. When does this stop? I man needs to go home and take care of his wife and his ranch. This is so wrong and we need to step up and help people who are only defending his home and family.

  5. This time around the ilegal wasn’t armed or carrying drugs. There’s a lot of what ifs here. Not surprised more have been shot. I STAND WITH THE RANCHER!! Enough is enough.

  6. The federal government has neglected one of the basic duties of any nation- to protect the border. Now that a US citizen, a landowner, a taxpayer, has defended his land, doing the work the feds should do, he is jailed and prosecuted?!!
    US citizens protecting their property are within their rights, and should have the support of law enforcement.

  7. did he fire a warning shot? I would have a hard time shooting to kill a trespasser if I felt my life was in jeopardy I would defend myself but a normal reaction is not to shoot to kill. I a not a lawyer and not going to argue on a statutory level but in God’s eyes alone is this justifiable? If you were a immigrant and had it bad in your country would you not try to make it to a place with better opportunity? The law might justify this and so be it but to take another life is a big deal and the frustration of our borders being opened up like that should not diminish the value of a human life. Perhaps this could have been avoided and the whole mess would be avoided.

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