This week, Arizona rancher George Allen Kelly was hit with additional charges of aggravated assault in addition to first degree murder for allegedly killing an illegal immigrant on January 30 who may have been part of a drug-running operation and was trespassing on his property only 150 feet from the porous U.S.-Mexico border. He was released Wednesday after posting the $1 million bond.
Not surprisingly, this story of an American being charged with murder for defending his property has attracted zero interest from the flagship morning and evening news shows of ABC, CBS, and NBC. In contrast, the Fox News Channel and NewsNation have been all over this story.
On Friday alone, NewsNation’s flagship AM show Morning in America had a combined 11 minutes and 32 seconds over its three hours (after extensive coverage Wednesday prior to and following Kelly’s previous court appearance).
Early Morning host Mitch Carr began the first report by saying Kelly was “out on bail” as he “put his ranch up for collateral...after Santa Cruz County officials added additional counts of aggravated assault” as “[w]itnesses” have come forward.
Border correspondent Ali Bradley reported from outside the courthouse in Nogales, part of “the Tuscon sector, which DHS sources confirm to me is leading the nation in gotaways” with Kelly’s ranch “sit[ting] right on what Border Patrol agents are telling me is a major narcotics route” and “an area notorious for extremely aggressive and violent smugglers going back decades.”
Bradley spoke to former Border Patrol Rodney Scott about the area and he didn’t mince words, calling it “a tough area to work for many, many years” because “[t]he cartel operating in that area has had a propensity for violence.”
That’s of no apparent concern to local prosecutors in this case, given the charges. Bradley explained that Kelly’s defense attorney has smugglers are “target[ing]” him with the case (click “expand”)
During George Allen Kelly’s preliminary hearing earlier this week, Kelly’s attorney Brenna Larkin said her client was being targeted by smugglers who are intimidating witnesses and skewing the investigation saying, “testimony is something that is bought and sold by drug traffickers the same way that drugs and people are bought and sold...In this case a benefit they’re getting is security for their smuggling route through Mr. Kelly’s property and they’re sending a message to anybody else defending his or her own property that if you defend your property against us, you will be arrested and there will be witnesses who come to stand against you.”
Multiple Border Patrol sources I spoke with tell me that Kelly did have a reputation among the smugglers as someone who fires his rifle off when undocumented individuals are on his property. And while the victim in this case, 48 year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, was found unarmed, he did have a radio and was wearing tactical boots. Former chief Scott says Cuen-Butimea also had multiple prior deportations.
Given the victim had a radio and “tactical boots,” Scott surmised from his “professional experience” that Cuen-Butimea “was a — either a scout or an actual guide for a group” and he wouldn’t be in that position on Kelly’s ranch if he wasn’t a cartel member.
Bradley concluded that Friday is another “evidentiary hearing” in which prosecutors will bring up “two witnesses” and information from detectives, leading Carr to remark that there hasn’t been “a lot of evidence...given in this case so far.”
Wednesday on Rush Hour, Bradley shared that prosecutors believe “there were eight individuals on the Kelly’s ranch during the time of this incident” with two of them being confirmed witnesses.
In one soundbite, Chief Deputy County Attorney Kim Hunley stated her relief that those with Cuen-Butimea with “luckily” able to evade Kelly’s wrath ‘with their lives.”
Over on the Fox News Channel, Special Report had an 18-second brief from anchor Bret Baier while, on Thursday, both morning shows Fox & Friends First and Fox & Friends had coverage.
The latter morning show had a 29-second brief based on a five-minute-and-one-second segment on Fox & Friends First with co-host Todd Piro, fill-in co-host Ashley Strohmier, and Texas rancher Debi Douglas about this growing problem of illegal immigrants trespassing and intimidating ranches.
During the interview, Douglas argued it’s clear “this is all a setup... to use Mr. Kelly as an example to put fear into the rest of us that have ranches along the border” that they can’t be allowed “to defend our property.”
Citing the three attempted break-ins in the last year and a half, Strohmier asked Douglas whether, with increased security she’s paid out of her own pocket, she feels safe (click “expand”):
DOUGLAS: I will tell you this, I will stand my ground. I will fight for what’s mine. They are not going to scare me and make me fear that I will not stand up to them. And also, if I've not mistaken, Arizona is a castle doctrine state, as Texas is, which means we do have the right to defend our property.
PIRO: Looking at this from the 30,000 foot view, doesn't this action against Mr. Kelly really send the message from Biden administration, quite frankly, that lives of migrants are more important than the citizens — citizens that live in states like Arizona and Texas?
DOUGLAS: I — I do believe that and I believe if you will look back and people will research, most of our political figures there are Democrats. I believe that again, this is a ploy, they are planning this. They’re not going to go easy on Mr. Kelly. They’re going to keep trumping up this stuff and have not even proven anything.
STROHMIER: When it comes to your situation, I know you said we have video, actually, of one time your house was about to — yeah, right here — when your home was about to be broken into or attempted to be broken into. Did this happen before the previous 18 months or was this new situation since Biden got in office?
DOUGLAS: Oh, this is definitely a new thing since Biden got in office. We — my son and I have owned ranches up in this area for 13 years, never have we had a problem like this over — it all started when Biden let the borders become open.
DOUGLAS: I prepare myself mentally of what happens if I come up on this situation and as I told you before, I will stand my ground.