(NewsNation) — A 73-year-old Arizona rancher is charged with first-degree murder after officials say he shot and killed a Mexican citizen who was on his property.
George Alan Kelly remained behind bars Friday on a $1 million bond in connection with the Jan. 30 death of Gabrial Cuen-Butimea.
The deadly shooting happened 12 days ago, but with each day it’s gained more national attention, further deepening opposing sides of the border debate.
Kelly and his wife live on more than 100 acres of ranch land about 1 1/2 miles from the Mexico border.
On January 30, Border Patrol officials say they received a call about a possible active shooter on Kelly’s property and reports of people running. Four hours later, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of shots fired and found a dead Hispanic male. The man was later identified by a Mexican voter ID registration card as 48-year-old Cuen-Butimea, who reportedly lived just south of the border in Nogales, Mexico.
Reports say Cuen-Butimea was returned to Mexico in 2016 after trying to cross the border.
Arizona is a stand-your-ground state, meaning: “…a person is justified in threatening or using physical force against another when, and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself…”
It’s unclear, however, what led to the shooting. Cuen-Butimea was found unarmed, while investigators reportedly took two Ak-47s from Kelly’s property.
Kelly, however, has received a ground-swell of support.
A GoFundMe account was started but since shut down. The company said its policy prohibits raising money for anyone charged with a violent crime.
A separate fundraiser on the Christian-based site Give Send Go raised more than $180,000.
Kelly has asked for his bond to be reduced—saying his wife is alone on the ranch taking care of their livestock— but so far that hasn’t happened.
He’s due back in court Wednesday.