George Alan Kelly
Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and aggravated assault at Monday’s arraignment hearing.
Kelly, 74, was arrested for killing Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, at his Arizona ranch in Kino Springs, just outside Nogales, Mexico, on January 30.
According to reports, Gabriel Cuen-Butimea has a history of illegal crossing into the United States and multiple deportations.
Defense lawyers say Mr Kelly fired warning shots after seeing a group of men in camouflage clothing point an AK-47 straight at him.
George Alan Kelly was careful to shoot over their heads, the lawyers said.
The rancher later discovered the deceased illegal alien, who is likely a cartel smuggler, when he went to check on his horse.
Kelly was originally charged with first degree murder, but a judge recently downgraded his charge to second degree murder during a evidentiary hearing in class.
The trial is set for September 6.
The Arizona rancher charged with murdering a Mexican on his property appeared in court on Monday.
George Alan Kelly, 74, has been arraigned in Santa Cruz Superior Court.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of second degree murder and aggravated assault.
Judge Thomas Fink set the trial date for September 6.
Kelly’s attorney, Brenna Larkin, asked the judge for an extension of at least 60 days because of the extensive investigation the defense will have to conduct with its own experts.
Kelly previously posted $1 million bail after funds were raised through Christian crowdsourcing site, GiveSendGo.