The elderly rancher charged with murder for shooting a Mexican migrant who illegally crossed onto his Arizona land begged a judge for his reading glasses and to be allowed to speak with his wife at a recent hearing.
George Alan Kelly, 73, remains in custody in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, on a $1million bond, on a single murder charge. On January 30, he shot and killed Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, after he crossed illegally onto his ranch in Kino Springs, near Nogales.
Friends of Kelly’s say he’s had trouble before with illegal migrants using his land to cross through. The elderly rancher was thrown in jail – where he has remained despite pleas to lower his bond.
He has not had a chance to explain why he shot Cuen-Butimea, or if he’d met encountered him before. Arizona has stand your ground and trespassing laws, but Kelly’s attorney is yet to invoke either.
George Alan Kelly is shown in court on February 2nd after his bond was set at $1million
George Alan Kelly is shown in court on February 2nd with his wife Wanda behind him in the front row. Kelly asked the judge for his reading glasses so that he could read the criminal complaint in front of him, and also pleaded with him that he hadn’t spoken ‘to anyone’
Today, his court-appointed attorney filed a two-week delay, citing the overwhelming scale of the case as reason for her to need more time to prepare.
It means Kelly must stay in jail for another two weeks at least, awaiting a new attorney or for his current attorney to file a request.
GoFundMe has now removed multiple pages set up by strangers who want to help Kelly.
Meanwhile, newly-obtained video shows the frail 73-year-old shuffling into court in a pair of plastic prison slides.
He then asked the judge to allow him his reading glasses so that he could read the charge against him.
‘May I ask a question your honor? I can’t read without my reading glasses… they’re not prescription just 1.5 magnification or something like that.
Kelly turned to look at his wife Wanda briefly before exiting the courtroom. He said he’d not had a chance to speak with her
‘I am aware of everything I can hear and now, thanks to you, I’ll be aware of everything I can read,’ he said.
Later, he asked for a definition of ‘indigent’, after the judge ruled that he was likely not ‘indigent’ enough to receive a public defender.
He had submitted financial records that showed his home and ranch as collateral. It’s unclear how much they are worth.
‘Your honor may I ask you a question?’
‘You used the word indigent, would you please give me your definition of indigent?
‘Somebody doesn’t make a certain amount – someone not making more than $20,000-a-year.
‘That’s more than accurate. I understand,’ he said.
Kelly being ushered into the courtroom in his prison jumpsuit and slides
Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, 48, was shot on Monday January 30th by 73-year-old rancher George Alan Kelly, after crossing onto Kelly’s land in Kino Springs, a remote area of Arizona just 1.5miles from the border
Kelly’s sprawling ranch in Arizona is just 1.5miles from the Mexican border. His friends say he’s had problems with migrants grossing
It’s unclear if he meant it was accurate that he earned less than $25,000-a-year, or accurate that his paperwork was incomplete.
At the end of the hearing, Kelly said: ‘Your honor may I ask one more question at an appropriate time?’
‘One moment please,’ Justice of Peace Emilio Velazquez replied.
After waiting until the judge was ready, Kelly pleaded: ‘I noticed coming in, my wife is present in the court. May I ask her to make an appointment for audio visual conference?
George Alan Kelly, 73, is being held on a $1million bond. He begged a judge to lower the amount and let him go home to help his elderly wife tend to their livestock
‘I have not been able to talk with her or anyone.’
The judge replied: ‘That’s something that has to be discussed with the detention facility downstairs. If your wife wants communication with you she can go to the sheriff’s office.’
Kelly said meagerly: ‘I appreciate you giving that instruction.’
Kelly’s bond was set at an enormous $1million. He previously pleaded with the judge to lower it, saying he needed to look after his elderly wife and their livestock.
‘She’s there by herself… nobody to take care of her, the livestock or the ranch. And I’m not going anywhere. I can’t come up with a million dollars.
‘Would you consider reducing it to any degree?’ he pleaded.
The judge refused instead telling him his attorney had to file a request – which she has not done.