Mistrial Declared in Case of Phoenix Man Who Killed Neighbor in "Neighborhood Dispute"

Categories: Judge and Jury
garykelly.jpg
The judge in Gary Kelly's murder trial declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict.
The jurors in the murder trial of Gary Thomas Kelly, the Phoenix man who killed his Hispanic neighbor after apparently getting drunk and spouting off some racial slurs, couldn't reach a verdict, Maricopa Superior Court officials announced this morning.

In May of last year, Kelly allegedly shot his neighbor, Juan Varela, during an altercation on the sidewalk in front of their homes.

The two men had been neighbors in the 6400 Block of South Montezuma Street in Phoenix for years and had frequently had altercations in the past. According to the Phoenix Police Department, during an altercation on May 6, Kelly used racial slurs while arguing with Varela.

As the two men were arguing, Varela's brother, Antonio Varela, approached them and started getting into it with Kelly, as well.

At that point, police say, Juan Varela either "kicked or attempted to kick Kelly."

Kelly responded by pulling out a gun and pointing at the brothers before firing it at Juan. Juan Varela fell to the sidewalk, and Kelly went back into his house.

Varela later died at an area hospital.

Responding officers found Kelly and the gun used in the murder inside Kelly's house. Kelly, officers say, appeared drunk when he was confronted by police shortly after the shooting.

At the time, there were indications that this was a race-related shooting, claims disputed by neighbors of the victim and Phoenix PD.

From New Times' initial report on Kelly:

Interestingly, that block of South Phoenix is populated with a mix of Hispanics, African-Americans and whites, many of whom have owned their houses for many years, say the residents. Also, most of the people I spoke with -- who happened to be Hispanic -- were quick to say that the suspect was a "good guy" who never displayed any racial animus toward them.

"Make sure you say he wasn't a racist," said a heavily tattooed Hispanic man named Jason, who said he'd had beers with Gary on more than one occasion...

Everyone in the neighborhood seemed shocked by the killing. They said there was no racial tension, even though some admitted that their neighborhood was not the safest. Many of the homes on the block sported iron bars on the window.

One neighbor said the suspect even rented out part of his house to a Hispanic person. Others said the suspect lived alone, and had taken over the residence about ten years ago after the death of his grandparents, who owned it. They said they believed he worked as a handyman and landscaper.

Some of the residents, who did not want their names used, described the victim as "loud" and sometimes obnoxious. But at least one resident said the victim was a "good neighbor" too.

We'll no doubt learn more, as this shakes out. But at least initially, it doesn't appear to be the sort of SB 1070-related violence that many have been fearing.

"The temptation is to say this is a racially motivated deal," said Thompson. "But this guy committed the ultimate slur when he shot and killed this man. That doesn't justify anything. Just trying to put things in perspective."

Kelly's due back in court on February 17.

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12 comments
Mike Yevtuck pisses on 81
Mike Yevtuck pisses on 81

The USA hells angels obsession with Mike Yevtuck belies a certain unnatural fixation.The hells angels all want to be tough and hot looking like Mike yevtuck but the hells angels could never have the Body because they are to lazy and they will never have the heart to stand for what is rightous.

hells angels wanted to be Mike yevtuck but they were not born with the heart of a lion instead they were born with hearts of weasles, wood peckers,pigeons ,rats

USa hells angels Pee wee rounded out just a pig . Dave burgess child porn convict leader ,chuck Zito the great pretender, lofranco leader of NJ rat pack , George christie presidental wow talk about crazzy LOL , ray rat foakes etc are just freaks in a flock of freaks

I guess that is why hells angels will alway live in the shadow of Mike Yevtuck .

Mike Yevtuck is real . look at all these cowards of the hells angels pretening to be Mike Yevtuck God of the hells angels. its safe online hells angels will never talk like that in person to their God Mike. everyone knows the god of the hells angels is not racist

Big Al
Big Al

his last name is KELLY a typical Irish drunk fighter. need i say more?

Big Al
Big Al

sounds like this guy was hillbilly kinfolk to that raciest mike yevtuck or at least in the same DNA gene pool. the Mex across my street sell weed and meth and they are great neighbors to have. they have better party's than the boring milk toast white honkys and cracker peckerwoods around here who are who are stuck up snotty white snobs anyway. and im white and they are rude to me and the Mexicans are nice to me.

JackofNoTrade
JackofNoTrade

Although I don't agree with a lot of the stuff in the Phoenix New Times, I have never heard of the information contained in this article. Thank you for providing a well-investigated story (I can't believe I'm giving Lemons any credit). The information from the neighbors shows the guy was not a racist, just was a drunk who didn't like his neighbor.

Fuckoffanddie
Fuckoffanddie

So you enjoy living next to meth-dealers? Obviously you are sub-human trash and I hope that you end up dead just like the POS that Mister Kelly put down.

David Corn
David Corn

Even if he wasn't a racist, it still seems he pulled out a weapon and killed an unarmed man.  The judge should have told the jury to get back in the room.

Big Al
Big Al

drunks are assholes who love to start trouble and fight and kill others. God made Pot, Man made Liquor, who do you trust?

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