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An Arizona rancher accused of shooting and killing an illegal immigrant on his property in January has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
George Alan Kelly, 74, was arrested after a Mexican national was found dead on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border. He is free on a $1 million bond.
The Associated Press reported that Kelly pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in the shooting death of 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea. Kelly also pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault.
According to the AP, Kelly responded to questions from Judge Thomas Fink of the Santa Cruz Superior Court with only yes or no answers. Fink set the trial date for Sept. 6.
Kelly was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the charge was downgraded on Feb. 24.
The rancher has maintained his innocence since his arrest.
Through his attorney, Brenna Larkin, Kelly has said in court documents that he discharged a rifle on the day Cuen-Buitimea died, but only after a group of armed men threatened him with weapons.
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