A 73-year-old Arizona rancher is being held on $1 million bond after a man believed to be a Mexican citizen was shot to death on the rancher’s property.
The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office in Nogales, Arizona, said George Alan Kelly, 73, was arrested last week and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the Jan. 30 incident, according to The Associated Press.
The victim has been identified as Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, of Nogales, Mexico, based on a Mexican voter registration card found on the body, the report said.
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, citing federal court records, Cuen-Butimea illegally crossed the southern border in the past and was deported back to Mexico several times. It said he was last deported in 2016.
Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gerardo Castillo said the killing occurred in Kino Springs at the location listed for Kelly’s cattle ranch.
The site was about a mile and a half north of the Mexican border.
“It doesn’t seem like Mr. Kelly and the decedent knew each other,” Castillo said, according to Nogales International.
At 2:40 p.m. Jan. 30, the Border Patrol received a report of a “possible active shooter.” The report said there was a “group of people running” and said the person making the report “was unsure if he was getting shot at as well.”
The entry said the person reporting the incident was “Allen.”
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Although deputies found nothing when they responded, a second report at about 6 p.m. resulted in deputies finding a body about 100 to 150 yards from Kelly’s home.
The dead person had been shot once, Castillo said.
He said Kelly was arrested because the “investigation initially revealed that he had shot in the area.”
Castillo said officials do not know what weapon was used to kill Cuen-Butimea.
He is 73 and and felt threatened. Biden should be enforcing the borders. Sad loss of life.
— Leigh (@Leigh_ATL_SAV) February 7, 2023
During an appearance Jan. 31 in Nogales Justice Court, Kelly asked Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez to reduce the amount of the bond because his wife would be left alone at their ranch.
“She’s there by herself … nobody to take care of her, the livestock. Or the ranch. And I’m not going anywhere. I can’t come up with a million dollars. Is there … Would you consider reducing it to any degree?” he said, according to Nogales International.
The request was denied.