Cain Velasquez will remain in jail without bond pending trial on attempted murder charges in San Jose, California, a judge ruled on May 16, 2022. Velasquez’s attorney says they’re “disappointed” in the decision. The former UFC heavyweight champion is accused of chasing and shooting at a truck in San Jose, wounding the stepfather of a man who is charged with molesting Velasquez’s young relative. The accused child molester, Harry Eugene Goularte, was also in the car and was not injured.
Velasquez’s attorney, Mark Gergaos, told Heavy he’s “disappointed” in Judge Shelyna Brown’s ruling rejecting their motion for bond. He said he “disagrees on the law and the facts.” Geragos said the former UFC star should be at home with his family helping them heal instead of locked up in jail. Geragos added that it is “somewhat outrageous that the accused pedophile is out without any bail restrictions whatsoever.” Geragos said he has heard that Goularte “has access” to a daycare while free on bond. Velasquez is scheduled to return to court in June for a plea hearing.
“We have a June 10th date,” Geragos told Heavy. “The only silver lining today was that clearly, the judge recognized that he’s got a viable defense and we’ll assert that and we’re hopeful to vindicate him in court.”
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Heavy about the latest development in the case. Velasquez has been supported during his court appearances by family, friends and fellow UFC fighters and the hashtag #FreeCain has been used by members of the local and MMA community to support Velasquez in his bid to get released from jail. Velasquez has been held behind bars in the Santa Clara County jail without bail since his arrest on February 28, 2022. He was previously denied bond in March.
According to police and court records, Velasquez is accused of chasing the truck being driven by Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender, for several miles at high speeds in San Jose before firing a handgun into the truck. Goularte’s mother, Patricia, was also in the car and was not wounded.
Goularte, 43, is facing charges of committing a lewd and lascivious act upon a child under the age of 14 and is due in court on June 6, Santa Clara County court records show. He was released without bail on February 25, three days before the shooting, records show. Goularte is accused of touching the victim’s genitals inside the bathroom of a daycare center as many as “100 times” and telling the child not to tell anyone, according to court documents.
Ahead of the Hearing, Geragos Said, ‘Based on What I’ve Seen & What I know of Cain, There Is No Threat,’ but the Judge Disagreed Saying, the Former UFC Fighter Showed ‘Reckless Disregard for Human Life’
Prior to the May 16 hearing, Geragos told MMA Junkie he had hoped the judge would agree to release Velasquez on terms and conditions that would satisfy the court that there would be no threat to the public. Geragos told the MMA news outlet, “Based on what I’ve seen of Cain and what I know of Cain, there is no threat.”
But Judge Shelyna Brown ruled on May 16 that Velasquez, showed a “reckless disregard for human life,” and denied the motion for bond a second time, ESPN reports. She also called the fighter’s actions “extreme recklessness.” Brown has been a Santa Clara judge since 2012 and is a former Santa Clara County public defender, according to Ballotpedia.
According to MMA Fighting, Brown said in court, “The court would find there is no medical change or any change in circumstance that changes the risk analysis for this court.” Deputy District Attorney Aaron French told the judge the family Velasquez is accused of targeting would still be at risk if Velasquez was released and said members of the community where they live are “terrified” about the potential of another attack.
Paul Bender, who was shot during the incident, told the judge his brachial artery was severed, he lost three of his fingers and hasn’t been able to work since the shooting. Bender said, according to MMA Fighting, “Cain Velasquez has no respect for human life. He does not care about the rule of law. If given the opportunity, I think he will try to finish what he started.”
MMA Junkie’s Nolan King tweeted that Geragos told Brown in court, “that Velasquez is willing to post $1 million bail, partake in electronic monitoring, and/or have a supervisor with him at all times.” According to King, the motion for bond filed by Velasquez’s attorneys says traumatic brain injury and potential CTE could have caused Velasquez to act impulsively.
Brown said in court, according to MMA Fighting, “This was such a reckless disregard for human life. In this case it is not just Mr. Goularte and his family. It is every single citizen who was in danger of being shot or rammed with the vehicle at the time of this seven mile chase. So this court is not thinking of not only of Mr. Goularte and his family but this court is considering every single citizen in Santa Clara county who was in proximity to this alleged incident.” She added, according to King, “The court is not ruled by community opinion at all. … It is ruled by the law.”
Cain Velasquez, Who Faces More Than 20 Years in Prison, Thanked His Supporters in an April Public Statement
Velasquez, 39, is facing charges of attempted murder, along with gun-related offenses, and up to 20 years in prison or more if he is convicted. The retired fighter made his first public comment in a statement posted on social media by his family in April. A GiveSendGo campaign has raised more than $20,000 to support his family.
“To everyone that has expressed your support, my family and I will never be able to thank you enough. From the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our souls, we are forever grateful for your love. Your selfless gestures and kind words have given me strength in my darkest times,” Velasquez wrote in the April 12 post. “This story is complex and slowly unraveling as we speak. To the true victims of this case, may God give you the strength to come forward. Though it is most difficult to relive the pain that has happened to you, in speaking the truth, justice will be served and your own true healing will start. I will never stop helping or loving my community and all of you. Thank you for loving me.”
Velasquez has received letters of support from several in the UFC and MMA community, including UFC president Dana White, ESPN reported in March. White wrote to the judge, “I have known Mr. Velasquez for more than 15 years, and during his time as an active athlete with UFC, he represented our company with dignity and always treated others with respect. He was a model example of how a professional athlete should carry himself, projecting a positive image to UFC’s fanbase.”
Velasquez’s friend, American Kickboxing Academy teammate and fellow former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has said he will be in court to support Velasquez every time he is there. In a letter to the judge, Cormier wrote, according to ESPN, “Cain has helped me on more occasions than I can count. Like me, he is a father and husband so he knows the demand of trying to do it all. Throughout the years, he has traveled with me, supported me, and even helped me prepare for a coaching job at the high school while I retired from my fighter career. Cain has taken it upon himself to help every chance he gets. During the pandemic when many gyms and restaurants were closed, Cain opened his home and provided a place for wrestlers to train and eat. He even housed them.”