911 Calls from Arizona Rancher Accused of Killing Illegal Alien Revealed: 'Intentionally Vague'
An Arizona rancher who has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of an illegal immigrant on his property told a 911 dispatcher not to send an ambulance to the scene.
The New York Post obtained and published the call and an additional conversation between a U.S. Border Patrol agent and a dispatcher with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
The calls were both made in relation to the Jan. 30 death of Mexican national Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, 48, on the ranch of George Kelly, 74.
Kelly was initially charged with first-degree murder in Cuen-Buitimaa’s death, but the charge was later downgraded to second-degree murder. He was released from jail after posting a $1 million bond.
In a roughly 90-second call between the Border Patrol agent and the dispatcher, the agent said he believed Kelly had been “intentionally vague” in a call to the agency’s ranch liaison.
The agent said Kelly had merely uttered he had “struck something.” The agent also said the rancher had called the liaison earlier in the day, according to the report.
The Post also obtained the 911 call the rancher made to the sheriff’s office that day.
Kelly was hesitant to describe what he found at first during a call that was just over seven minutes long. He cited his Miranda rights.
“What’s going on?” a dispatcher asked the man on the recording, who was reported to be Kelly, as she assured him he could talk to her.
“Yeah, I know I can talk to you,” he responded. “But you’re responsible for what I say, and I’m responsible for what I say.”
Moments later, the dispatcher asked Kelly to recall his earlier conversation with Border Patrol agents, and she asked him, “What did you shoot at?”
“I haven’t said I shot at anything,” he replied.
He had said there was an “animal lying facedown” that could not have been mistaken for a “rock” or a “mineral.”
The rancher later asked the dispatcher to recall a prior incident in which a woman was found dead in the area, and he and the dispatcher appeared to both acknowledge they were talking about a human body.
According to the Post, Kelly advised the sheriff’s office not to bother sending an ambulance. He said he had a background in the medical field and that there would have been no point.
“There is nothing out here that could be aided by EMT or emergency services,” the rancher said.
He instead suggested a coroner would be more appropriate.
The rancher has said through his attorney he did not shoot anyone but admitted he had previously shot over the heads of armed illegal immigrants who had threatened him.
Prosecutors in Santa Cruz County allege Kelly shot and killed Cuen-Buitimea, who they say was unarmed, in a pasture near the border.
Kelly has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the case will go to trial in September.
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