Cain Velasquez Pleads Not Guilty in Attempted Murder Case

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion Cain Velasquez has entered a plea of not guilty for attempted murder and additional weapons-related charges.

On Friday, Velasquez attended his plea hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif., entering his plea of not guilty on all charges. Judge Jessica Delgado presided over the hearing, and as a result, his next pre-trial hearing will take place on Sept. 26. Velasquez has been held without bail, after being denied release multiple times over the last few months. The ex-champ is facing charges of attempted murder and 10 additional charges related to firearms and assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted of the former, he could receive a sentence of 20 years to life, and the other charges carry additional time depending on their severities.

On Feb. 28, Velasquez allegedly fired a handgun at a truck that contained Harry Goularte, Goularte's stepfather Paul Bender and his mother Patricia Goularte. Mr. Goularte has been accused of molesting Velasquez’ son on multiple occasions, and Bender was shot in the shoulder during the chase and encounter. Goularte was charged in February with a count of a lewd and lascivious act with a minor under the age of 14 – a felony – but he was released with conditions on his bail including staying away from children and wearing an electronic ankle monitor. When the alleged attack occurred, Goularte was traveling to the authorities to pick up his ankle monitor.

During the multiple bail hearings, a slew of letters came in support of Velasquez, including UFC President Dana White. Despite this, the judge that denied bail on all three occasions believed that Velasquez’ release could risk harm to the witnesses and the public as a whole, given that the alleged shooting took place on a public street after Goularte's vehicle was rammed. One time, she stated that the “reckless disregard for human life” from the alleged actions from Velasquez endangered nearby citizens, while the subsequent hearing said that Velasquez needed to remain incarcerated due to “allegations of extreme recklessness to human life.”

According to MMA Junkie on Friday, an additional private hearing will take place on Aug. 29 to review motions filed by Velasquez’ attorneys. This hearing will handle documents admitted regarding Goularte’s own arrest as it pertains to Velasquez’ actions, as well as interviews with the minor under 14 that Goularte allegedly abused.
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