Arizona rancher charged with murder of alleged illegal alien released on $1M bond after GiveSendGo fundraiser

"Mr. Kelly's actions are those of an innocent man. Mr. Kelly himself called law enforcement to report the discovery of the body."

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
The Arizona rancher who allegedly shot and killed a Mexican national on his property posted bail on Thursday, Fox News reports.

George Alan Kelly posted the $1 million bond, with Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Gerardo Castillo confirming so to Fox.

"Judge Emilio Velasquez had upheld Kelly's $1 million bond, though agreed to convert it from cash to surety. He also set the next hearing date for Friday despite the defense pleading for a continuance of 30 to 60 days to allow time to confer with experts and gather the forensic and ballistic evidence they say authorities have neglected to process," Fox wrote.

A motion to modify the conditions of release called for Kelly's bond to be reduced or converted to a surety bond, arguing that Kelly had no criminal record and that the amount set for Kelly was for the purpose of keeping him in custody.

George Alan Kelly Motion to... by The Post Millennial

"A court's imposition of monetary condition of release must be based on an individualized determination of the defendant's risk of non-appearance, risk of harm to others or the community, and the defendant's financial circumstances. The court may not rely on a schedule of charge-based bond amounts, and it must not impose a monetary condition that results in unnecessary pretrial incarceration solely because the defendant is unable to pay the imposed monetary condition," court documents state. "Simply put, the Court may not determine a bond amount that is designed for the sole purpose of keeping the defendant in custody. Rather, the Court must determine the lowest bond amount necessary to secure the defendant's appearance or protect persons or the community."

Lawyers also argued that Kelly is not a danger to the community and that the "evidence against Mr. Kelly is extremely weak... Law enforcement was not able to locate a body when they searched Mr. Kelly's property after Mr. Kelly fired shots to warn away the armed men."

"Mr. Kelly's actions are those of an innocent man. Mr. Kelly himself called law enforcement to report the discovery of the body. Mr. Kelly cooperated with the investigation and gave a statement to law enforcement. 

"No bullet has been found in order to do testing to determine which gun fired the fatal shot. It is entirely possible that the person found on Mr. Kelly's property was a victim of other drug traffickers," the court document added.

GiveSendGo, a faith-based GoFundMe alternative, allowed for fundraising to be done on behalf of Kelly after the ladder removed campaigns for the rancher from its site. 

Kelly's attorney, Brenna Larkin, had previously slammed prosecutors for charging Kelly with first-degree premeditated murder, and wrote in the Motion to Modify, "quite simply, this is a case where an innocent man has been wrongfully accused of a crime."

"White the prosecutor believes that Mr. Kelly committed First Degree Murder, the shocking lack of evidence linking him to the body makes it a far stretch for anyone to believe that Mr. Kelly murdered an unarmed person on his land with premeditation. Of all possible explanations for this person's death, this is the least plausible."

They argue that Kelly would have had no reason to call law enforcement had he been acting in a way that supported the prosecution's theory. 

George Alan Kelly Oppositio... by The Post Millennial

Kelly was also charged with two counts of aggravated assault after two survivors of the incident gave their testimony. The state says that Kelly shot an "unarmed" man in the back "in an unprovoked attack as he ran for his life" more than 100 yards from Kelly's property. The defense says that Kelly only fired warning shots in the air earlier in the day after spotting armed men.

Kelly's defense told the court on Wednesday that there was a "large incentive structure for people to come forward and to have claimed to have been witnesses," due to "pressure from traffickers who have an interest in blaming this event on Mr. Kelly." 

"Testimony is something that is bought and sold by drug traffickers the same way that drugs and people are bought and sold," Larkin said Wednesday. 

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