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Jurors in case against Arizona rancher accused of fatally shooting Mexican man to return Monday

Jurors deliberating a case that accuses an Arizona rancher of fatally shooting a Mexican man near the border last year say they’re at an impasse.

Prosecutors say on Jan. 30, 2023, 75-year-old Nogales resident George Alan Kelly shot and killed Gabriel Cuen Buitimea as he crossed Kelly’s ranch with other migrants. 

The eight-person jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and by midday Friday, they said they’d reached an impasse. Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink called them back to the courtroom and said while could not and would not force a verdict, they needed to deliberate more and try to reach a consensus. 

"But I do have a responsibility, after the tremendous amount of work that's been put in, to getting this trial to this place, where we are — by the lawyers, by the court, all the resources that have gone into it, and all the evidence that’s been presented — to make sure, that you do your job, and follow your oaths, and to work as hard and as long as you can to reach a verdict," he said.

Kelly faces charges including second degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The jury returns Monday for more deliberation.

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Alisa Reznick is a senior field correspondent covering stories across southern Arizona and the borderlands for the Tucson bureau of KJZZ's Fronteras Desk.