Depending on who you ask, there are differing opinions on Cain Velasquez’s ongoing attempted murder case. Many of his fellow fighters are standing behind him, but those who’ve been on the side of law enforcement are taking the opposite stance and believe that the former UFC champion should be made to answer for his actions.
What we haven’t heard yet is the side of legal practitioners who are adept at handling such cases. Recently, a group of veteran defense attorneys spoke to MMA Fighting about Velasquez’s situation.
For lawyer Steve Cooley, “this is not a complicated case.”
“Anyone who says it’s nuanced because his motive was to get even for the [alleged] molestation of someone he loved, that that somehow mitigates it — not really,” he explained. “There’s no defense of, ‘I got mad because he really hurt someone I loved.’”
The alleged incident happened in February in San Jose, California wherein Velasquez reportedly opened fire at a truck and subsequently went on an ‘11-mile high-speed chase.’ The individual he was said to be chasing is 43-year-old Harry Eugene Goularte, who is accused of child molestation. A relative of Velasquez was believed to be one of Goularte’s victims.
Velasquez’s legal counsel could be trying to take the premeditated murder charge out of the equation by presenting sufficient mitigating evidence. This could then allow them to cut a plea deal. According to defense attorney Javier Rios though, doing so isn’t going to be easy.
“In this case, that’s tough, because he apparently showed some deliberation,” Rios explained. “Getting the tools necessary to try to kill somebody, a prosecutor will typically use those as circumstantial evidence that shows that this person has a frame of mind for first-degree — deliberating what he was trying to do.”
“That does not typically look like someone just impulsively reacting. It sure has the earmarks of somebody that knows what they want to do, gets the tools for what they want to do, and then sets out to do precisely what they intended to do.”
Rios adds that unless Goularte was armed or instigated an attack, Velasquez is in a tough spot. His lawyers may then have to prove that one of his loved ones was indeed violated by the alleged victim.
“If you cannot beat the charges, you’re just trying to get mitigation. Perhaps the fact that the alleged victim, if they can in fact show that he was molesting this loved one from the defendant, arguably that is a mitigator and perhaps that can be used to try and get [Velasquez] a better deal.”
While the case is still ongoing, the lawyers ultimately see a bleak outcome.
“It’s sad. He threw his life away,” Cooley said. “But you know what, it happens every day. ... He threw his life away in a moment of pique, anger, uncontrolled emotion, thinking he could take justice into his own hands.”
The 39-year-old Velasquez is currently facing ten charges: attempted murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle or aircraft, three counts of assault with a firearm, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony. If convicted, he could face a 15-year prison sentence.