Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly was arraigned on lesser charges in court on Monday for shooting a Mexican national on his property on Jan. 30, according to reports.
Kelly, 73, was originally charged with first-degree murder in relation to the shooting.
The defendant claimed he fired warning shots at the migrant and never shot directly at him or an armed group of suspected smugglers on his property.
On Monday, Kelly was back in court to be arraigned on second-degree murder and aggravated assault, to which he pleaded not guilty, CBS station KOLD reported.
Judge Thomas Fink, who oversaw the hearing, set trial for Sept. 6.
The news station said Brenna Larkin, an attorney representing Kelly, requested a 60-day continuance to allow the defense time to conduct its own investigation with experts of their choosing, as well as time to obtain and review a search warrant of Kelly’s home.
Larkin did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the hearing on Monday.
Kelly posted a $1 million bond on Feb. 22 after a court appearance in which Judge Emilio Velasquez upheld the bond and converted it from cash to surety.
The money was collected through a Christian crowdsourcing site, GiveSendGo, after GoFundMe booted all campaigns for the rancher from its site.
During the bond hearing, Larkin blasted prosecutors for charging Kelly with first-degree premeditated murder before a thorough investigation could be completed.
Prosecutors maintain 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 home, which he has shared with his wife, Wanda, for decades outside Nogales.
Larkin, though, contends her client only fired “warning shots” in the air earlier that day after spotting a group of armed men moving through trees by his home on the ranch.
Documents filed by the defense claim one of the men “pointed an AK-47” at Kelly, who called a Border Patrol ranch liaison multiple times that day – prosecutors claim the group was not armed.