Witness testimony began Tuesday in the second degree murder trial of Santa Cruz County rancher George Alan Kelly. Kelly is charged with shooting and killing an undocumented border crosser passing through his ranch.

Kellys defense attorneys seem to be working to convince jurors someone other than Kelly may have killed the victim.

For a defense attorney, raising reasonable doubt is the key to getting your client acquitted. Inm the murder trial of rancher George Alan Kelly, Kellys lawyers have already suggested maybe someone shot the victim before Kelly even picked up his gun.

Kelly is charged with firing at least nine shots from an AK-47 assault rifle in the direction of Gabriel Cuen Buitimea and another man as they moved south across Kellys ranch towards Mexico. Prosecutors say one of those shots killed Cuen Buitimea who was not moving towards Kelly and presented no threat.

First witnesses in Kellys trial were from law enforcement, testifying about investigative techniques like using drones for aerial photography, and laser devices to create 3-D recordings of the scene.

Kellys defense attorneys say Kelly heard a gunshot before he brought out his rifle and fired over the heads of the men who were more than a football field away. In opening statements Kellys lawyers offered the idea that someone else fired the fatal shot before Kelly did anything.

Because the fatal shot went through the man and kept going, the bullet was never recovered so it was never tested for a match to Kellys gun.

Defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp questioned Santa Cruz County Deputy Pedro Felix. Felix was the second deputy assigned to watch the body until it could be removed. It was his job to make sure no one disturbed evidence.

Lowthorp asked about the odd condition of a backpack the victim had.

Lowthorp: There is a backpack sitting over this gentleman’s head. Is that correct?

Deputy Felix: Correct.

Lowthorp: Did you notice the backpack was unzipped?

Deputy Felix: No.

Deputy Felix said he could not be sure whether investigators at the scene before him had opened the backpack for inspection.

Kellys lawyers have made a point of mentioning the victim was carrying a two-way radio of the sort smugglers often use.

Prosecutors have told jurors Kelly sent aggressive texts about taking action against smugglers crossing his land, and that he made evasive statements, and waited many hours to tell investigators he had fired his gun.

In afternoon testimony prosecutors called Jeremy Morsel, a Border Patrol agent assigned to stay in touch with ranchers on the border. He was the first person Kelly called when Kelly reported people crossing his land.

Morsell says about 2:30 the Afternoon of January 30, 2023 Kelly called him and excitedly said, Im getting shot at. Im shooting back. Morsell says in a series of calls through the day, Kelly changed his story about how many people were crossing his land, whether or not they had rifles and whether they were headed towards or away from Mexico. Morsell says in one of the later calls Kelly mentioned something may have been hit but did not tell the Agent he, Kelly, had shot anyone.