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Rancher Accused of Killing Illegal Alien Pleads Not Guilty to Second-Degree Murder – Trial Date Set

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A rancher in Arizona was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting and murdering an illegal immigrant on his property in January. He pled not guilty.

A Mexican national was discovered dead on the property of George Alan Kelly, age 74, near the U.S.-Mexico border. He is free on a bail of $1 million.

Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, Kelly pled not guilty in the shooting death of 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea. Kelly pled not guilty to aggravated assault as well.

According to the AP, Kelly gave only yes or no responses to questions posed by Judge Thomas Fink of the Santa Cruz Superior Court. Fink scheduled the trial for September 6.

Kelly was first charged with first-degree murder, but on February 24 the charge was reduced.

After his arrest, the rancher has maintained his innocence.

Kelly, through his attorney Brenna Larkin, has stated in court records that he fired a rifle on the day Cuen-Buitimea was killed, but only after being intimidated by a gang of armed individuals.

He stated that he fired “warning shots” when an AK-47 was pointed straight at him. Larkin stated that Kelly feared for his and his wife’s safety.

Prior to his encounter with the armed guys and before to the discovery of Cuen-body, Buitimea’s Kelly reported hearing a single gunshot from an unknown source.

Larkin subsequently asserted in a court document that trespassing on Kelly’s property by illegal border crossers was widespread prior to Cuen-death. Buitimea’s

On the day Cuen-Buitimea was discovered dead in one of Kelly’s fields, the rancher had been in frequent touch with the United States Border Patrol.

One of Kelly’s neighbors later revealed that he had phoned the Border Patrol as many as 40 times in January alone. The agents were so accustomed to visiting the property, according to him, that they had their own key to Kelly’s gate.

The property is situated around one and a half miles from the Mexican border.

For the past two years, an unprecedented number of illegal immigrants have crossed the region’s border.

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