Defense: Rancher Held on $1 Million Bond Fired 'Warning Shots' at Armed Men with 'AK-47' Pointed at Him


A rancher who has been charged with first-degree murder in Arizona was allegedly threatened with an AK-47 by an illegal immigrant before one of them was later found dead on his property.

His defense attorney said the rancher fired “warning shots” at the group with a rifle in order to make it clear he was prepared to protect life and property.

Police have accused George Alan Kelly of murdering a suspected Mexican citizen found dead on his ranch near the U.S.-Mexico border last month outside of Nogales.

On Jan. 30, a man tentatively identified as Gabriel Cuen-Butimea was found shot to death on Kelly’s property.

The rancher has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder in Cuen-Butimea’s death and is being held on a $1 million bond. He has denied the charge.

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Fox News viewed a court document filed by Kelly’s attorney, Brenna Larkin, and shared some interesting excerpts on Monday.

Larkin said prior to encountering armed men and before a body was ever discovered, her client heard a gunshot on his property. Shortly thereafter, he witnessed his horse running away from the area.

The court-appointed attorney said Kelly reacted by running into his home.

“Finally, he saw a group of men moving through the trees around his home,” Larkin wrote. “They were armed with AK-47 rifles, dressed in khakis and camouflaged clothing and carrying large backpacks. None of them were known to him. He had not given any of them permission to come onto his land.”

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Larkin said Kelly was “understandably concerned and reasonably feared for his safety, his wife’s safety, and his animals’ safety.”

The attorney said at one point, the “leader” of the group “pointed an AK-47 right at” her client. He retrieved a rifle at that point and fired “warning shots” at the group.

“As he shot, Mr. Kelly took care to aim well over the heads of the armed group of men,” Larkin wrote. “The group then began running into the desert surrounding his home. Once the group had fled, Mr. Kelly walked over to his barn to see if it was safe and secure.”

Kelly contacted the Border Patrol ranch liaison and was visited by the Border Patrol agents and sheriff’s deputies, who checked out his ranch to look for the reported armed men. No one was found.

The rancher later patrolled his property alone. Larkin said that was when he discovered a deceased man with a single gunshot wound in one of his pastures.

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“The person [had] a radio with him, and he was wearing tactical boots, indicating he was possibly involved in illegal activity,” the attorney wrote.

Kelly could not offer an explanation as to how the deceased man ended up dead on his property, and his attorney is adamant he did not shoot anyone.

More and more Americans who live near the border are being forced to deal with encroaching migrants near their homes as President Joe Biden’s immigration failures put all parties in harm’s way.

The Biden administration refuses to secure the border. Regarding what happened on Kelly’s ranch, one man died on a property he had no business setting foot on, and an American citizen is behind bars.

The courts will decide Kelly’s fate.

But the government’s outright refusal to secure the border is what killed Cuen-Butimea — no matter who pulled the trigger.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.