Who is George Alan Kelly? Arizona Rancher Charged With Murdering Mexican

A rancher who lives near Arizona's border with Mexico has been charged with the murder of a Mexican man.

George Alan Kelly, 73, was arrested last week in connection with the killing and charged with first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.

Authorities believe the victim was Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, because of a Mexican voter registration card found on the victim's person. He lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico.

The killing occurred January 30 in the Kino Springs area just outside Nogales, Arizona.

The address where it happened is the same one listed in public records for Kelly's cattle ranch.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Gerardo Castillo previously told the Nogales International that it didn't seem like the two men previously knew each other and that authorities were working to clarify the circumstances of the killing and establish a motive.

A sheriff's dispatch report shows a call came in from the U.S. Border Patrol about a "possible active shooter" in the area at Sagebrush Road at 2:40 p.m. on January 30, according to the newspaper.

The report said a person at the scene mentioned a "group of people running" and said he "was unsure if he was getting shot at as well." Castillo told the newspaper that deputies responded but found nothing.

But shortly before 6 p.m., the sheriff's office received another report of shots fired at the property. Deputies located the body of a deceased male at 6:24 p.m., about 100 to 150 yards from Kelly's home, Castillo said. The man had one visible gunshot wound.

Kelly was arrested because the investigation "initially revealed that he had shot in the area," Castillo said.

Kelly was being held at the Santa Cruz County Jail after his arraignment in the county's Justice Court last week.

A Border Patrol officer sits inside car
A Border Patrol officer sits inside his car as he guards the U.S.-Mexico border fence, in Nogales, Arizona, on February 9, 2019. Ariana Drehsler/AFP via Getty Images

During an initial appearance in court, he had reportedly asked if his bond could be lowered so he could return to his wife, who was alone on the ranch without him.

"She's there by herself ... nobody to take care of her, the livestock. Or the ranch," Kelly told Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez, according to Nogales International.

"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 is set to return to court Wednesday. An attorney appointed by the court to represent Kelly has been contacted for comment.

Several websites show an author with Kelly's name has published a book called Far Beyond the Border Fence, described in its Amazon listing as "a contemporary novel which brings the Mexican Border/Drug conflict into the 21st century."

The book's protagonists are a couple—with first names that match those of Kelly and his wife—who live on the "VMR Ranch" in southern Arizona. Kelly and his wife's ranch is called Vermilion Mountain Ranch.

According to the newspaper, the book describes how the character George and his foreman "had to patrol the ranch daily, armed with AK-47s."