[Fox News] Fed-up judge makes unusual move in Arizona rancher trial

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A judge in Arizona walked out of the courtroom in the middle of proceedings this week, exasperated with both sides of the trial. 

Judge Thomas Fink of the Santa Cruz County Superior Court is presiding over the trial of rancher George Kelly, who is accused of murder after the fatal shooting of Mexican national Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea.

Fink got up and momentarily left the bench on Thursday while the defense was presenting, deferring to the clerk and court reporter, according to local outlet Fox 29.

ARIZONA RANCHER GEORGE ALAN KELLY JURY TO TAKE FIELD TRIP TO BORDERLAND PROPERTY AT CENTER OF MURDER TRIAL

Fink has accused both the defense and the prosecution of unnecessarily dragging out the oral arguments.

Jurors have heard testimony regarding where and at what distance Kelly was standing when prosecutors argue he fatally shot Cuen-Buitimea. 

The defense maintains Kelly only fired warning shots into the air from his patio earlier in the day, and his wife, Wanda Kelly, testified about dialing their Border Patrol ranch liaison upon spotting two armed men dressed in camouflage and carrying rifles and backpacks walking about 100 feet from their home. 

ARIZONA RANCHER GEORGE ALAN KELLY’S WIFE TESTIFIES IN MURDER TRIAL, DESCRIBES ARMED MEN NEAR BORDERLANDS HOME

Kelly’s defense team has looked to sow doubt on whether forensics evidence presented in court and the autopsy report can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cuen-Buitimea was killed by Kelly’s gun. 

The fatal bullet was never recovered from the scene. A consultant for Kelly’s defense, who spoke on condition on anonymity, previously told Fox News Digital that none of the state’s witnesses so far in the trial have provided any rebuttal testimony against the defense theory that a rip crew – a gang of bandits, sometimes cartel-affiliated – could have fatally shot Cuen-Buitimea and robbed him.

Kelly made national headlines last year when he was held on a $1 million bond on a first-degree murder charge for several weeks. The highest charge was later downgraded to second-degree murder. 

The elderly rancher rejected a deal from prosecutors earlier this year that would have reduced the charge to one count of negligent homicide if he would agree to plead guilty. The trial is expected to end April 19.

Fox News Digital’s Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

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