Testimony from George Kelly’s wife provides crucial details in border rancher’s murder trial

The widow of Santa Cruz County rancher George Alan Kelly gave emotional testimony during his murder trial on Wednesday, April 3.

In January 2023, he was accused of the shooting death of Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea.

Prosecutors have emphasized Wanda Kelly’s conflicting replies, while the defense reminded the jury that she was stressed the day her husband discovered Buitimea’s death on their property.

Wanda has been married to George, also known as Alan, for nearly 54 years.

Testimony from George Kelly's wife provides crucial details in border rancher's murder trial

She testified that on January 30th, 2023, her husband was standing in the kitchen at the bar eating a sandwich while she was in the living room caressing her cat. He requested her to keep quiet and stated he had heard a gunshot.

She said she contacted Border Patrol and handed the phone to her husband, who was standing on their porch with his AK-47. She said that after entering the living room between the two windows, she heard gunfire near enough to be from her husband.

Testimony from George Kelly's wife provides crucial details in border rancher's murder trial

She claimed she heard five or six shots, but Santa Cruz County Chief Deputy Attorney Kim Hunley informed Wanda that she told deputies she heard four in their reports.

Hunley also stated that Wanda told deputies that she observed five guys crossing their property rather than the two she portrayed in court as clothed in camouflage, carrying heavy bags and guns.

Wanda stated that she couldn’t remember everything she said, nor could she given the stress she had during the shooting and seeing her husband detained.

Sweetheart, I could have told him the sky was purple that night. I apologize. “I’m all messed up,” Wanda stated in court.

The court adjourned early so that the attorneys could visit Kelly’s property in preparation for a jury visit to the site.

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