The Arizona cattle rancher accused of killing a Mexican national on his property next to the international border was hit with fresh charges ahead of a hearing in the case this week.
George Alan Kelly, 75, was already facing a first-degree murder charge when the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office filed an amended complaint listing two counts of aggravated assault on Tuesday, the Arizona Republic reported.
Kelly was initially charged earlier this month following the Jan. 30 shooting death of Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, on his property outside Nogales, Ariz.. He is due back in court for a hearing on Wednesday morning.
The Sheriff’s Office’s new complaint alleges that Kelly also used “a rifle, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument” against two other unidentified victims on the same day that Cuen-Butimea was killed.
Kelly, who is still being held on $1 million bond, insists he only fired warning shots into the air after he saw men armed with AK-47s on his property, the Arizona Republic wrote.
According to Kelly’s attorneys, the elderly rancher discovered Cuen-Butimea’s body hours later, when he was checking on his horse.
Kelly was subsequently arrested and two assault rifles were seized from his home, though details about the type of weapon used in the shooting have still not been released.
Initial reports indicated investigators had identified Cuen-Butimea from his Mexican voter registration card.
Federal documents obtained by the Daily Mail indicate that the victim had a history of illegally crossing the border, and was most recently deported in 2016.
News of the controversial killing further inflamed existing tensions along the US-Mexico border. GoFundMe campaigns established to support Kelly – who described himself in a court motion as “land rich and dollar poor” – were forcibly shut down for violating the site’s policies on raising funds to benefit people accused of violent crimes.
As of this week, the Arizona Republic said, Kelly had been relocated to protective custody after receiving multiple threats from fellow inmates.