Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly has been arraigned on second-degree murder and aggravated assault charges for shooting a Mexican man on his property on January 30.
Originally, Kelly was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting incident. Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Monday.
During the hearing, Kelly’s attorney, Brenna Larkin, requested a 60-day continuance to allow the defense to conduct their own investigation and review a search warrant of Kelly’s home. The trial has been set for September 6.
Kelly had posted a $1 million bond on February 22, which was collected through a Christian crowdsourcing site, GiveSendGo, after all campaigns for the rancher were removed from GoFundMe’s site.
Prosecutors alleged that Kelly had shot an “unarmed” man in the back “in an unprovoked attack as he ran for his life.” The shooting took place more than 100 yards from Kelly’s home which he shared with his wife, Wanda, for decades outside Nogales.
Kelly, however, claimed that he fired warning shots at the migrant and never directly at him or an armed group of suspected smugglers.
As per defense documents, one of the men “pointed an AK-47” at Kelly, who called Border Patrol multiple times that day. However, prosecutors claim that the group was not armed.
Kelly was originally charged with first-degree murder in relation to the shooting. In his testimony, the defendant claimed that he fired warning shots at the migrant but never shot directly at anyone.
Judge Thomas Fink set the trial for September 6, and Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges.