The legal case against 70-year-old Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly has intensified as he faces charges of murdering a Mexican migrant who he allegedly shot and killed on his property last month.

The details of the incident were presented to a judge, revealing starkly different versions of the events that unfolded.

Kelly is currently in custody and facing a single murder charge for shooting Gabriel Cuen-Butimea on January 30th.

According to Kelly’s account, he fired warning shots when he saw Cuen-Butimea and at least eight other Mexican men running through his land.

The 73-year-old rancher claims that he thought the men were drug runners and fired warning shots to scare them away, being careful not to aim directly at them.

He immediately called border patrol, and the entire ranch was searched, but no bodies were found. It was only later, when he was searching for his horse, that he discovered the body of the man and contacted the authorities.

However, prosecutors argue that Kelly intentionally hunted down the men with an AK-47 and shot an innocent man, Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, in the back as he was running for his life.

They claim that Kelly changed his story multiple times when speaking with police and border patrol.

Their case is largely based on the testimony of two other men who have come forward and say they were present during the incident. Kelly has no prior criminal history and lives with his wife Wanda.

Those men claim they were all migrants trying to sneak into America but that when Kelly started shooting, they jumped back over his fence and ‘made it back to Mexico.’ 

In court today, a judge agreed to convert Kelly’s $1million cash bond to a surety bond, which will allow him to use his 170-acre ranch to get out after nearly a month in custody. 

He has also been charged with two counts of aggravated assault against ‘Daniel’ and ‘Ramon’ – the two migrants who have now come forward to assist the prosecution. 

Prosecutors today said Kelly shot an ‘innocent man in the back as he fled for his life.’ 

In a filing, they said the migrants posed ‘no threat to him or his family.’ 

‘This type of unprovoked attack presents a significant danger to the victims and community,’ Deputy County Attorney Kimberly Hunley said in the filing. 

Kelly’s attorney said the two men who have come forward have been afforded complete faith by the prosecution – whereas all of the rancher’s comments have been scrutinized. 

She also pointed to the fact that these men have only now come forward as witnesses, nearly a month after the shooting, after the case gained national and international media attention. 

‘There is a very large incentive structure for people to come forward – people can obtain immigration benefits for dong so. They can also succumb to pressure from traffickers, who have an interest in blaming this event on Mr. Kelly,’ she said.

‘Testimony is bought and sold by drug traffickers. It’s a commodity and it is used. 

‘The benefit they are getting here is security for their smuggling route through his property, and they are sending a message to anyone else, that if you defend your property against us, you’ll be arrested and there will be witnesses.’ 

Kelly’s lawyer said that the case was ‘decided’ before it was even charged, and that he is being unfairly tarnished as a violent racist. 

Kelly’s lawyer said that the case was ‘decided’ before it was even charged, and that he is being unfairly tarnished as a violent racist. 

On January 30th, George Alan Kelly reported discovering a body on his property near Kino Springs, where he and his wife have lived for two decades. Earlier that day, after completing his ranch chores, Mr. Kelly was having lunch with his wife when he heard a gunshot.

He then saw his old horse running away in fear, followed by a group of men carrying large backpacks and armed with AK-47 rifles.

Mr. Kelly did not know any of them and had not given them permission to be on his land. Understandably, he was concerned and feared for his safety.

Mr. Kelly quickly called the United States Border Patrol Ranch Liaison for help and told his wife to stay inside and remain quiet.

He then went to the porch with his rifle and saw the leader of the group pointing an AK-47 at him. Fearing for his life and the safety of his wife and animals, Mr. Kelly fired several shots over the heads of the armed men, hoping to scare them away.

It’s important to note that Mr. Kelly took care to aim his shots away from the men and had no intention of causing harm.