Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will remain in jail awaiting trial on attempted murder charges after he was denied bail in a hearing on Monday.
Judge Shelyna Brown heard arguments from both Velasquez’s attorney Mark Geragos as well as deputy district attorney Aaron French before issuing her ruling.
“It is clear to this court that there is clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that release would result in great bodily injury, not just to the named complaining witnesses in this case but to Santa Clara residents at large,” Judge Brown said. “This case involves allegations of extreme recklessness to human life.
“Ramming a vehicle in the middle of the day where are citizens are out driving, going about their business and shooting out of a car at other individuals, which is reckless by any standard. Anyone could have been injured. Anyone could have been killed and when this court looks at article 1, section 12, it is this level of risk that the court must take into consideration. With that said, this court is making the ruling that the risk is too great and that there will be no bail set at this time.”
Velasquez was arrested on Feb. 28 after he allegedly engaged in an 11-mile, high speed chase while also firing multiple rounds from a .40 caliber handgun in pursuit of a vehicle carrying Harry Goularte, who is accused of molesting a close relative of the former UFC champion.
Goularte had been released on bail in his case against the objections of the district attorney.
Velasquez allegedly pursued the accused child molester from his home before firing several shots at the vehicle and Goularte’s stepfather was hit by a bullet. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries.
Police then arrested Velasquez minutes later without incident and he was later charged with attempted, premeditated murder.
During the arraignment and bail hearing, Velasquez’s attorney argued that his client wasn’t a flight risk while showing that he had retrieved his and his wife’s passports and the court also received 37 letters of support for the retired fighter.
Geragos asked for bail to be set so Velasquez could return home to his family while awaiting trial.
French countered with a victim statement provided by Goularte’s mother Patricia, who actually called 911 during the alleged altercation, while saying they were traumatized by his “horrible actions that day.”
Ultimately, the judge sided with the prosecution and deemed that Velasquez was too much of a potential danger to society to be released at this time as he awaits trial on multiple felony charges. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Velasquez is scheduled to be back in court on April 12 for his next hearing in the case.