SB 1070 Shooter Gary Kelley Sentenced to 27.5 Years in White-on-Brown Slaying

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Gary Kelley: SB 1070's new poster-boy, now sentenced to 27.5 years in the state pen

A note to Sand Land's hillbilly gun-huggers: Beer and firearms don't mix. And they mix especially poorly with bigotry, latent or otherwise. 

Case in point is Gary Kelley, the South Phoenix man who gunned down his neighbor Juan Varela on May 6, 2010 after screaming at him in a drunken rage, "You fucking Mexican, go back to Mexico!"

Today, Kelley was sentenced to 27.5 years in prison for second degree murder and aggravated assault. Kelley's first trial ended with a hung jury earlier this year. He was retried in April and convicted. 

Kelley, 51, is Anglo. Varela was Latino, an American citizen and 44 years-old at the time of his murder. Varela's family has been in this country for generations.

The shooting happened outside of Varela's home with Varela's brother looking on and their mother watching from their house. 

According to a report of Kelley's first trial by my colleague Valeria Fernandez of New America Media, Kelley's lawyer admitted that his client originally approached Varela to discuss Arizona's breathing-while-brown law, Senate Bill 1070.

Keep in mind, Governor Jan Brewer had signed SB 1070 just days before the slaying, effectively declaring open season on the state's Hispanics. 

If you disagree with my characterization of Arizona's hate statute, look no further to the stated "intent" of the act itself, "to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government entities in Arizona."

That phrase "attrition through enforcement" is nativist code for ethnic cleansing. And the ethnicity SB 1070-backers want "cleansed" from Arizona is that of the Hispanic variety.

All Latinos are in the crosshairs, because the state's redneck contingent is too stupid to note any differences between Latinos of different nationalities.

Sponsored by the state's most prominent bigot, state Senate President Russell Pearce, the law was, for the most part, enjoined last year by U.S. Circuit Court Judge Susan R. Bolton. 

In April, the U.S. Ninth Circuit upheld her ruling. Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have appealed the Ninth's judgment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, 1070 signaled to the state's Hispanic population that it was not welcome. It made Arizona a byword for xenophobia and intolerance. And it dredged up some ugly ideas in the brains of such folk as Gary Kelley.

Kelley has always maintained that he is not a racist. And, truly, there's no way for any of us to peer into a man's soul. 

In fact, when I first heard of the shooting, I headed down to the neighborhood where it happened and spoke to people in that community. More than one told me that they did not think Kelley was prejudiced.

The Phoenix police were reluctant to label it a hate crime. And so was I at first

There's been no evidence I've seen that Kelley was a member of a hate group or was an active white supremacist.

And yet, 1070 served as a catalyst, emboldening those who think "Americans" are by definition white, plating seeds of distrust and resentment, and fattening the ugly tumor of prejudice in the brains of weak-willed men like Kelley.

Still, if Kelley had not been seriously inebriated, with an estimated blood alcohol content of between 0.126 and 0.286, and if he had not been armed, Varela would likely be alive today, and his daughter would still have a daddy.

Instead, Varela is dead, and Kelley might as well be. As the Maricopa County Attorney's Office noted in its press release on the sentencing, Kelley will be "in his late 70s" before he's eligible for release from prison.

A waste on all sides. And for what? Nothing but the furtherance of enmity and ethnic strife. 

I have very little hope that Arizona will any day soon rid itself of the hate that spawned 1070, or the hate spawned by it in turn. 

Perhaps it will take another generation or two, when Latinos finally have political power in this state equal to their numbers. 

Till then, Arizona's old, reactionary white majority will cling jealously to its hegemony and continue to demonize Latinos for all of the state's social and economic ills. 

Hell, even Arizona's senior U.S. Senator feels no shame in blaming wildfires on Mexican migrants. That's how bad things are.

Those of us who believe in justice and long for ethnic and racial equality have no choice but to battle the haters, the opportunists, and the bigots until the snow-bird electorate that empowers them dies off of old age.

And that's one thing I can believe in: That, try as they might, the racist alter kockers cannot live forever.

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72 comments
Cplusmc23
Cplusmc23

I am a US citizen, have lived in many other countries for my job, and not once did I ever complain about having to follow THEIR laws. I respected THEIR cultures. I learned THEIR language (I know, wild concept right?). I didn't live in a neighborhood full of Americans, I lived in a neighborhood of locals. I didn't demand they change to accommodate me, I learned their ways.

I am now back in the US and live in Arizona, and have spent the last year doing the paperwork for my fiance's visa (the LEGAL way). Obviously I am NOT a racist who hates immigrants, since she IS an immigrant. I do however despise people that attempt to demonize those of us that expect you to follow the same rules as the rest of us. NO ONE has the right to break the laws of a country because they don't like them.

America is a great country because of immigrants.......immigrants who respected and loved this country. Not the trash flowing across the border now.

SB1070 is not a racist bill. You can not be arrested for breathing, walking, being brown, or getting ice cream with your family (like our fearless leader claimed). Anyone who believes you can, is an IDIOT. Educate yourself before you spout off this nonsense, because it makes you look stupid. If I get pulled over, I too have to provide an ID. If I can not provide an ID, I will be held until they can determine who I am. If I am arrested, they will run my name and prints through the FBI database to make sure I am not a fugitive. These are all things to protect the Citizens of this country. SB1070 is not treating you any differently than us. If you want to come here and become an American legally, I support you 100%......WELCOME TO AMERICA!! I respect anyone who works hard to better their life and that of their family's. If you want to come here illegally, take advantage of our country, and call us 'racist' for wanting to protect the country we love.......then I'll enjoy watching you on the next episode of "Border Wars" getting deported.

SEMPER FI

Cplusmc23
Cplusmc23

Just in case anyone is confused, I am in NO WAY condoning what this man did. My comment is in response to those who believe SB1070 was created because 'us Anglos just hate brown people.'

Jason
Jason

We need to remember that two families have been destroyed here.

Gary Kelley will now serve 27.5 years for killing his neighbor in a drunken rage over 1070. He more than likely will be sued for wrongful death.

Meanwhile, Mr. Valera's family will forever mourn the loss of their relative. They will have absolutely no closure and very little justice.   

Burt
Burt

POOR ARIZONA AND YOUR FUTURE,NO NATURAL DISASTRER HAS EVER PASS BY THIS RACIST STATE,BUT SOMETHING BIG WILL HAPPEN HERE,LIKE AN HEARTHQUAKE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT,SO EVERY BODY BECOME MORE SENSIBLE,LIKE HAPPEND IN OTHER PLACES,PEOPLE LIKE YOU GET TOGETHER ONLY UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES LIKE THOSE,THAT IS WHY IS EXTREMLY NESESSARY TO HAPPENS HERE TOO. I BET YOU THAT EVRY ONE WILL PREY AND SAY :"WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS AND WE ARE TOGETHER,GOD PLEASE HELP US".

Masha
Masha

I don't understand why Obama is not doing anything about growing racism. He of all people should understand how dangerous that is for everybody.

Bobby
Bobby

He doesn't understand diddly squat. Or maybe he's just not as racist as you are. Time will tell.

Masha
Masha

Yes, Bobby is my lunch break entertainment.

Masha
Masha

Are you a parrot Bob now?

Bobby
Bobby

Stop playing with yourself then.

Bobby
Bobby

Your'e insane.

Bobby
Bobby

Your racism is evident and crystal clear.

Bobby
Bobby

Pot calling kettle black,etc.

Bobby
Bobby

Pot calling kettle black,etc.

Flying_Dead_Cactus
Flying_Dead_Cactus

It kind of fun to play with the village idiot. Sadistic. like burning ants with a magnifying glass, but fun.

Masha
Masha

Bobby cannot make a valid argument, so he reduces himself to the personal attack.

Masha
Masha

Bobby thinks that if he is white then everybody is out there to get him. That is a paranoia  on your part, not the racism on anybody else part.

Venonacables
Venonacables

Ann Coulter said that people do not get angry over lies, but the will get livid over inconvenient truths.

Moche8
Moche8

You marinate your mind in obscenities against good fellow human beings.

Bobby
Bobby

Your'e full of your own bullshit.

Moche8
Moche8

Bobby, you do promote hate speech, vile lies and unbelievable hatred in speaking about this issue.  You refuse to discuss the issues in any meaningful way.  The ideology you promote led to this man killing his neighbor.  His mind was full of the same sort of hate that you practice.

Bobby
Bobby

Hate speech hate speech, hate speech,.........

Moche8
Moche8

More hate speech from Bobby.  

Moche8
Moche8

It is not Obama who could do something.  He gave an address on Race his first year in office.  

What needs to be done is for people who see real 'hate speech' in the media, whether it is radio, television or on the internet to call it out.  

Complain to advertisers on that media about the hate speech.  Stop using that media if you see hate speech there.  Write to management.  People have to stop tolerating hate speech in Arizona.  

It is not acceptable, it causes great damage.  The media has to be held responsible in the only way that counts.  People must start the opposition.....

Venonacables
Venonacables

I think Eric Holder made the racism situation worse when he said that we are a nation of cowards.

Juror in 1st trial
Juror in 1st trial

This was NOT a racially motivated killing. Until you have sat in the courtroom and listened to ALL the evidence- as I did as a juror in the first trial, I am not interested in your ignorant opinion. Do your due diligence and THEN you can log your self serving comments.

Masha
Masha

There is a saying: What sober man thinking, the drunk man doing.

Bobby
Bobby

That also applies to women--like you?

Masha
Masha

Did you stepped in it? At least use a spell check.

Bobby
Bobby

Listen Dr. Brothers, your'e not making any sense. Haven't you read what happens to people steeped in pop psychology? They start talking nonsense like you.

Masha
Masha

I don't see any correlation. Your comments reveal more about you, especially in psychiatric area. 

Bobby
Bobby

Hey, YOU don't feel so smug. It's just stuff like what you wrote, that has exposed you, thrown the spotlight on you, and revealed everything anyone needs to know about you. Your either a lifetime welfare recipient, or a guy that uses the libraries computers, when your'e not living under the bridge.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Actually, Bobby, that applies to your mom. She was speaking metaphorically when she told you about her job, she was "packing meat," to be sure. Hard to be her, making a living on all fours.

Did you know your father? Or was he just another John?

Niece of Juan Varela
Niece of Juan Varela

we were asked not to post on the trial till everything was said and done. I would first like to say that everyone of course has a right to their own opinion, so we can agree to disagree. apparently the first trial was hung all due to one ignorant juror who was being robbed for her car and she had a gun and thinks if she didn't have the gun she would be dead today. so now because of this one incident now EVERYONE who ever used a gun they were justified in doing so. not taking situation by situation. I don't agree with everything that has been said of this case in the media. They don't know the family, the TRUTH in it. The media gets one piece of information, deem it to be true and run with it w/o ever ever trying to find out if it's facts. One big misconception is that they were friends and had fights quite often, that in fact is not true. We knew his grandfather, who has been passed for quite some time. so knowing his grandfather in no way is saying we knew him. never spoken to the guy. Can I say that a 100% this was a racially motivated killing, no, just as the article stated we can not go into the man soul, (which that would be saying he had a soul). he kept reminding us yesterday in court before his judgment came down, how he's not racist. What I and again I can say (not that my family shares or doesn't share my beliefs) is that I believe the SB1070 debate or news or hatred that was coming out the days prior to May 6 '10 contributed to the death of my uncle, Juan Varela. It's been known now that Gary Kelley is an alcoholic and I believe he was drinking and drinking days before and the day of, news of 1070 was going on and he decided he would pick a fight. not sure if he knew my uncle was outside watering his yard or my uncle, being a hispanic, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But i think the judge stated it the best yesterday when handing down his sentence. He is a MURDERER and for the life of her still to this day and after hearing testimony after testimony doesn't know why he headed over there, intoxicated with a loaded concealed weapon. we will question this forever... why, why, why. a man who was so young died, my grandmother's companion, his wife's best friend and his daughter hero is now gone, cause why? we still don't truly know why and don't think we ever will, until Gary Kelley decides to be a MAN and tells us the truth. but he's a coward and won't. We understand from the trial yesterday that his family is also hurt and yes both sides were affected by this, but his family doesn't seem to get is that all this pain was caused by their family member and that they will still get to see their family member in jail, they will still get to hear his voice and still get phone calls, letters, they will get to see him grow older and we will never, ever get that. My grandmother has "broken heart syndrome" and my family has been damaged from this and won't ever be the same. We cry and cry and hurt from this but GOD will get us through this. This is what I wanted to share. Thanks - niece of a great, kind spirited, son, dad, husband, friend, volunteer, youngest son of 14 kids. we will miss you forever... love you

Bnbk
Bnbk

Sorry for the loss your family has suffered. God bless all of your family.

Mistalee
Mistalee

So very sorry for the loss of your uncle. It was so unnecessary. 

teknik1200
teknik1200

I'm truly sorry for your loss. nothing can change what happened to you, but the world is a changing place and we are moving forward.  let's just hope we don't take two steps back because there are a lot of folks trying to.

Moche8
Moche8

What a beautiful statement.  We are praying for your family and praying for Arizona to change so this never happens again.  A real tragedy.  God bless you all.

Moche8
Moche8

A combination of the atmosphere in Phoenix where Neo Nazis are in charge, and Sherriff Joe costing 44 million in legal cases for his abuse of Hispanics, and the constant stochastic terrorism of right wing media here...this man may NOT have been a racist, but when he got drunk his sub-conscience brought forth all the vile and corrupt memes that YOU bring up here, Bobby.  Yes, deny that if you will but you know it is the truth.

Bobby
Bobby

You haven't the slightest proof of what your asserting. Not the slightest. The truth is not a meme. It's the truth. I'm ashamed to be having this discussion with you. I wasn't feeling right about it all along, only because of people like Juans Niece, below. As for the murderer above, he deserves hell. 

Bobby
Bobby

Illegal immigration hurts American society. We (Americans) don't want to pay for it any longer. Are you really that clueless? Quit making it about me. Your'e deluded as to what's going on in the whole country.

Masha
Masha

Yep, your wife ran off with undocumented person, so now you think that you have an experience. And don't you know that you should not believe everything that you read on internet, especially if it comes from FAIR.com and NumbersUSA.com

Masha
Masha

Bobby, if you are not feeling right, may be you should stop typing and seek a psychiatric help.

Moche8
Moche8

So, big deal.   You see a Mexican flag and your paranoid state tells you they are going to take over America.  

 You regularly read hate speech, lies and fabrications about immigration and minorities.  Just as Orwell predicted Lies=truth.   You poison your mind and soul with these lies.  It not only hurts you, but it hurts society too.

Bobby
Bobby

I would be ashamed if I were telling lies. But I'm not. Everything I've told you I've either experienced, or read about, repeatedly.

Moche8
Moche8

You should be ashamed, touting the lies that you tell.

Moche8
Moche8

Bobby, you simply refuse to acknowledge the facts right in front of you.

That is why I know you belong to a political cult.Brainwashed.

Bobby
Bobby

I'm sorry but I'm not Juror in lst trial. Good God, your'e willing to come back to dissing me, even when others tell you your full of it.

Masha
Masha

I think everybody tells you Bobby, that you are "full of it".

Masha
Masha

Yes, Bobby is brainwashed beyond help.

Masha
Masha

Bobby, you didn't provided any proof or links to what you claimed earlier. Voices in your head are not the valid sources of information. 

Bobby
Bobby

Your'e trying to, but it's still not beyond help. I don't think you'll succeed any time soon.

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