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A judge overseeing the trial of an Arizona rancher who shot and killed a Mexican man on his property has ruled that the rancher will not face a retrial.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink made this decision on Tuesday, dismissing the case against rancher George Alan Kelly with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought back to court. This ruling came after Kelly’s initial trial ended in a mistrial back in April, with jurors unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

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Prosecutors had requested the possibility of a new trial, hoping new witnesses might emerge. Despite this, Judge Fink denied this request, agreeing with Kelly’s attorneys that continuing the case would amount to harassment. Fink said, “There is no reason to believe that another jury would come to any different conclusion. The evidence simply was not there.”

What happened:
Kelly, a 75-year-old rancher, was accused of the murder of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea. Prosecutors had initially charged Kelly with second-degree murder. According to Kelly, he encountered Cuen-Buitimea on his ranch and fired warning shots at what he believed were armed intruders on his property.

Lawyers for Kelly said he acted in self-defense and was in fear for his life and safety. Prosecutors disputed Kelly’s claims, arguing that he acted “recklessly” and had no justifiable reason to shoot the migrant who was approximately 100 yards from him.


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