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DNA analysts testify in rancher’s murder trial

George Alan Kelly’s wife testifies on her statements to detectives
Posted at 7:28 PM, Apr 04, 2024

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — DNA experts found no DNA connection between rancher George Alan Kelly and the man he is accused of killing. The Santa Cruz County rancher is facing second degree murder charges in the death of a Mexican National crossing his land.

Prosecutors say George Alan Kelly shot Gabriel Cuen Buitimea from more than a hundred yards away though he was closer to the victim’s body as he reported the dead man to law enforcement.

DPS forensics experts say DNA analysis of Kelly’s clothing showed his DNA but no other. Clothing on the victim showed that man’s DNA but also another weak sample on the shoulder of Cuen Buitimea’s jacket that cannot be matched to Kelly.

DPS forensics specialist Heather Rivera-Reyes told the jury: “So when I do a comparison to the known profile for Mr George Kelly it’s inconclusive, again meaning there’s not enough information there to make an inclusion or an exclusion.”

As the last witness for Thursday, Sheriff’s Sergeant Omar Rodriguez testified he was the first deputy to reach the victim’s body and that he touched the man’s shoulder while lifting him to see if he might still be alive.

Kelly’s wife Wanda continued the testimony she started Wednesday. Part of her time on the stand involved questions about whether she gave investigators conflicting stories about the number of trespassers, and the number of shots her husband fired.

Prosecutors showed part of her questioning by a sheriff’s detective. Prosecutor Kim Hunley asked Mrs. Kelly if she asked the detective if she was required to answer his questions.

“He did ask me that. He said I didn’t have to answer but do I have something to hide or something he needs to know?”

Sheriff’s detectives are still expected to testify in the case.

Part of the court proceedings may move to the Kelly Ranch to give jurors a chance to see the location for themselves.

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Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing craig.smith@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.