Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office announced the decision to drop the case against Kelly Monday night following a unanimous verdict by jurors. This is a representational image. Pixabay/ Hermann

George Alan Kelly, an Arizona rancher charged with murdering an unarmed migrant, won't face a retrial after his case was faced with a deadlocked jury, prosecutors say.

Jurors in the trial were unable to reach a unanimous decision on a verdict after more than two days of deliberation in the case against Kelly, who fatally shot Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea on his 170-acre ranch in Kino Springs, Ariz. The migrant had crossed the border in January 2023.

Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Thomas Fink declared a mistrial on April 22. Following that decision, the county's Attorney's Office had the option to retry Kelly or to drop the case.

"Because of the unique circumstances and challenges surrounding this case, the Santa Cruz County Attorney's Office has decided not to seek a retrial," Deputy County Attorney Kimberly Hunley told Fink Monday.

Fink also said a hearing would be scheduled later to determine if it would be dismissed with prejudice, which would mean it couldn't be brought back to court. Kelly's lawyer, Brenna Larkin told the judge that she would file a request for the case to be dismissed with prejudice.

Larkin did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. But she said last week that there had been a hung jury in the case, and that the final count had been 7-1 in favor of finding Kelly not guilty, The New York Times reported.

Later on, in an interview with KOLD-TV, Larkin said "we're hoping we get the dismissal with prejudice, we'll see how we go. I'm glad it's over. We got the right result. I would have preferred a not guilty verdict and then this would be gone forever and then they would never have to worry about this."

After the declaration, the Mexican Consulate in Nogales, Ariz. said in a statement on Monday night that it would continue to provide support for the family of Cuen-Buitimea, and that it would explore other avenues if the case is dismissed without prejudice, which could leave legal options open.

"Justice did not prevail in today's decision," the consulate said. "We would ultimately like to witness the death of Mr. Cuen-Buitimea not go unpunished."

Cuen-Buitimea was part of a group of undocumented migrants who were crossing the high desert in Kino Springs, when they were spotted by Border Patrol and fled, The New York Times reports. Cuen-Buitimea and another man, Daniel Ramirez, ran onto Kelly's ranch, which is when the man fired an AK-47-style rifle at them, authorities said.

The immigrant was struck in the back and died, according to The Times. Kelly was then charged in February 2023 with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

The case has raised attention by both immigration activists and conservative ranchers alike.

In fact, Kelly was met by protesters demonstrating outside of the courtroom on behalf of the perished immigrant.

"It's not an issue for me about punishing Mr. Kelly. It's about looking at the victim as a human being because at the trial really what happened was the man who was killed was put on trial," said protestor Trayce Peterson, according to KOLD.

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