One elderly rancher out of Arizona stands accused of firing on and killing an illegal Mexican immigrant that has been trespassing onto his property and has officially pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder.
74-year-old George Alan Kelly was first issued a charge of first-degree murder in the wake of the fatal shooting of an illegal immigrant thought to be 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, explained a report from Fox News. The migrant had been deported a number of times prior to this incident that resulted in their death, explained a report from The Daily Mail, the most recent incident of which was in 2016.
A judge announced late last month that the murder charge would be knocked down to second degree. On Monday, Kelly pleaded not guilty during his arraignment, explained a report from the New York Post.
The trial date was set for the 6th of September by Judge Thomas Fink, despite the fact that Brenna Larkin, Kelly’s attorney, asked for a two-month continuance to carry out interviews with her own experts. She also highlighted an additional search warrant recently carried out on Kelly’s property.
Larkin explained to various outlets that she was not going to be able to comment about the case to the media but did say, “we cannot try this case in the press, or in any place that is outside of the courtroom,” and that the defense is “confident that Mr. Kelly is an innocent man, based on his long history of law-abiding behavior, and based on the uncontroverted facts of this case.”
Kelly was officially released from prison back on the 24th of February with a bond of $1 million. His defense team alleges that he only fired off warning shots from his weapon into the air and did not target any individuals, explained a report from The New York Post. Kelly reportedly explained to investigators, stating that he found Cuen-Butimea’s body laying on his property a few hours later while checking on his horse, claiming that he had seen people carrying AK-47s on the property.
Larkin explained in court on the 22nd of February that her client is being set up by a group of human traffickers interested in “securing their route” across Kelly’s land and are attempting to use his case as a public warning to anyone that wants to try and challenge them.
“Absolutely the least likely thing that happened in this case is that Mr. Kelly randomly decided to … start shooting at random people,” argued Larkin while in court, stating that there was a very “large incentive” for witnesses to step forward and lie after “succumbing to pressure from traffickers.”