Judge Urges Swift Pace in George Kelly Murder Trial as State’s Case Drags On

TUCSON, Ariz. – The murder trial of George Alan Kelly has seen a delay in its progress, prompting the judge to urge attorneys to expedite proceedings. Kelly is facing charges of second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea on his ranch on January 30, 2023. Originally scheduled to last four weeks, the trial has already stretched into its third week, with the prosecution yet to conclude their case.

To gain a clearer understanding of the events surrounding the crime, the jury is scheduled to visit multiple locations on Kelly’s ranch, including the property’s interior, exterior, and even the nearby border wall. This visit aims to provide further insight and potentially corroborate or challenge eyewitness testimonies regarding the incident. It will allow the jurors to visualize the same surroundings that George Kelly and his wife, Wanda, encountered on the day Buitimea was killed.

In the morning session, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Detective Mario Barba faced cross-examination by the defense, focusing on the reliability of eyewitness statements. The distance between the border wall and the site of the shooting was found to be significantly greater than reported by one of the witnesses. Furthermore, the witness’s description of the scene would have placed them on the opposite side of the ranch house from where Buitimea was shot.

Prior to the jury entering the courtroom, the judge expressed concern over the trial’s extended duration and announced an intention to implement time limits on questioning. Defense attorney Brenna Larkin contested this proposal, emphasizing the importance of certain witnesses for Kelly’s defense. The judge responded by gradually reducing the allotted time for cross-examination, granting Larkin five minutes initially and then progressively reducing it.

The state is expected to rest its case on Friday. The defense anticipates the need for two days to present their own witnesses, including Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway, and potentially even George Kelly himself.

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