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Athens Mayor Heckled After Reported Murder By Illegal Migrant

Graham Perdue
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Angry protesters disrupted a press conference held by embattled Democratic Athens Mayor Kelly Gritz over what they believe are “sanctuary” city policies. This followed the tragic murder of a University of Georgia co-ed allegedly at the hands of an illegal migrant.

Several protesters demanded Gritz step down in the wake of his proclamation that the college town welcomed illegals. 

The community remains in shock after the brutal murder of 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley. The suspect is an illegal migrant from Venezuela, identified as Jose Antonio Ibarra.


Riley had gone for a jog near the intramural fields, a setting popular with UGA students.

Gritz clearly attempted to dismiss the idea of Athens being a sanctuary city and a haven for illegals. He told the gathering that the term “means different things to different people depending on the context of the discussion.”

One man immediately shouted, “Liar!”

Demonstrators demanded the leftist mayor’s resignation. They further charged the city council should reverse contentious policies passed to afford protection to illegal migrants.


Noting that “blood is on their hands,” protesters referred to a controversial resolution signed by city leaders in 2019. The document declared it was in the ‘Support of Athens’ Immigrant, Undocumented and Latin-X community.” 

Despite this, Gritz claimed that no legislation exists from the Athens city government that established sanctuary status.

This is simply legal nitpicking, and the protesters did not buy it. While there may not be laws on the books opening the city up to waves of illegals, leaders made its policy of protecting those in the nation illegally clear.

Athens leaders are not the only ones with culpability in Riley’s beating death. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials confirmed that Ibarra entered the U.S. unlawfully in 2022.

However, he was released into the country pending “future proceedings.”

He spent time in New York City employed as a food deliverer before moving to Athens to live with his brother. His residence was an apartment near campus, and investigators believe the vicious attack on the nursing student was simply a crime of opportunity.

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