The Arizona rancher charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of an illegal migrant reported that he was threatened by men with AK-47s during the incident.
George Alan Kelly’s defense attorney said that his client fired “warning shots” at a group of migrants to clarify his intention to protect life and property. Kelly is accused of murdering a man believed to be a Mexican citizen on his ranch near the border last month.
The deceased, tentatively identified as 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, was found on Jan. 30.
Kelly is being held on a $1 million bond and has denied the charge of first-degree premeditated murder. His court-appointed attorney, Brenna Larkin, said the armed group “pointed an AK-47 right at him.”
George Alan Kelly's lawyer says he fired warning shots after armed men pointed AK-47s at him https://t.co/Wm4GwIutP4
— So. AZ Cattlemen (@sacpaaz) February 13, 2023
The 73-year-old rancher told authorities he had completed his chores on his property near Keno Springs and had come to his house to have lunch with his wife. As they ate, he heard a single gunshot, according to a court filing published by Fox News Digital.
He said his old horse was running away at full speed. Kelly said at that point he ran into his house.
Larkin recounted that he spotted several men moving in the trees near his home. They carried AK-47s and were dressed in khakis and camouflage while toting large backpacks. Kelly knew none of them and certainly had not given them permission to be on his property.
After having a rifle pointed at him, Larkin said her client told his wife to stay inside and away from windows. He then contacted the Border Patrol ranch liaison, retrieved his rifle, and fired the “warning shots” well above the intruders’ heads. The men fled.
He was then visited by Border Patrol agents and sheriff’s deputies, and they reportedly searched the property to make sure no intruders were still there. But later, when Kelly searched his property alone, he reported finding the dead man with a single gunshot.
Larkin said her client vehemently denies shooting the deceased and does not know how he ended up on the property.
The mayhem that is President Joe Biden’s border continues unabated. Unfortunately, there will be more violent encounters as illegal migrants continue to pour into the country, often with tragic results.