Aging Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly, 73, was released on a $1 million bond Thursday, thanks in large part to the generosity of those who donated to a Christian crowd funder after GoFundMe ripped down Kelly’s pages.
As American Wire News reported, Kelly fatally shot 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea, after the illegal migrant crossed onto his Kino Springs property, located roughly a mile and a half from the U.S. border with Mexico.
Illegal immigrant's family demands justice after being shot on Arizona rancher's propertyhttps://t.co/ARgcLQX7Pp
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) February 8, 2023
Kelly was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, despite Arizona’s Stand Your Ground laws.
During his first court appearance, Kelly pleaded with Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez to lower the bond to something affordable, as his wife was alone on the ranch and had no one to look after her.
“She’s there by herself … nobody to take care of her, the livestock. Or the ranch. And I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “I can’t come up with a million dollars. Is there… Would you consider reducing it to any degree?”
He was denied, and since the end of January, he has been languishing behind bars in the Santa Cruz jail.
A GoFundMe was started for the desperate rancher, but the site pulled the pages down, according to the Daily Mail.
So Kelly’s family members turned to a Christian alternative to GoFundMe known as GiveSendGo.
There, they were able to raise more than $330,000 dollars to help with Kelly’s astounding legal bills.
On Wednesday, the judge did agree to convert the $1 million cash bond to a surety bond, allowing Kelly to use his 170-acre ranch to secure his release, the Daily Mail reports.
Shannon Pritchard started the GiveSendGo campaign for Kelly, whom she describes as “a simple farmer, who should be protected by the government.”
“Astounding, miraculous, a blessing to the Kelly family beyond belief,” wrote Pritchard as the donations surpassed by a magnitude of 10 times the original goal of raising $25,000.
“I will never forget your generosity for the rest of my days,” she continued. “May God bless each and every one of you, from the smallest donor to the largest. And thank you all for the prayers that you offered up for Mr. Kelly. I am praying a prayer of thanksgiving for you all each day.”
GiveSendGo shot into the national spotlight this time last year after GoFundMe seized more than $9 million in donations to the Canadian “Freedom Convoy.”
As with the politically-inconvenient truckers, GoFundMe refused donations in support of Kelly.
“GoFundMe’s Terms of Service explicitly prohibit campaigns that raise money to cover the legal defense of anyone formally charged with an alleged violent crime. Consistent with this long-standing policy, any fundraising campaigns for the legal defense of someone charged with murder are removed from our platform,” a spokesperson told Fox News. “Donors who contributed to the fundraising campaigns for George Alan Kelly’s legal expenses have been fully refunded.”
According to GiveSendGo co-founder Heather Wilson, those terms are exactly why her platform exists.
“To allow people to have a voice and gain support in times of need,” she explained in a statement to Fox News. “At this time [we] do not know any more than what is being shared on the news, but we do know that in our country a legal defense is not just for the wealthy.”
“We will continue to allow the raising of funds for legal defense on GiveSendGo, as the presumption of innocent until proven guilty is a bedrock to our Justice system,” she said.
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