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‘This was such a reckless disregard for human life’ - Judge denies Can Velasquez bail again

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will remain behind bars as he awaits trail for the attempted murder of Harry Goularte.

Cain Velasquez attends a hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, for the alleged attempted murder of Harry Goularte.
Cain Velasquez attends a hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, for the alleged attempted murder of Harry Goularte.
Photo by Aric Crabb/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Public outcry to ‘free Cain Velasquez’ appears to be falling on deaf ears. The former UFC heavyweight champion is currently housed in the Santa Clara County Jail awaiting trial on a charge of attempted murder, following an alleged high speed chase, during which Velaquez is said to have fired multiple rounds into a car carrying Harry Goularte, striking Goularte’s step-father, Paul Bender, twice.

Goularte has been accused of molesting a close member of Velasquez’s family, and was out on bail at the time of the alleged shooting. Velasquez’s attorney, Mark Geragos, previously tried to secure his client’s release on bail back in March, but was denied—with Judge Shelyna Brown stating that there was “clear and convincing evidence” that releasing Velasquez would present a danger to “Santa Clara residents at large.”

On Monday, May 16th, MMA Fighting reports that Velasquez’s legal team once again requested the judge to set bail for their client at $1 million, with conditions that the former fighter and professional wrestler would remain under home confinement and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet at all times—even suggesting that Velasquez could remain under constant supervision as well, until he goes to trial.

Along with this new request for bail, the court revealed that Geragos is arguing that Velasquez may be suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degeneration of the brain due to repeated head trauma—something that has been linked to other high profile cases of athletes committing uncharacteristically violent acts.

While it is likely that the speculation around the condition could ultimately play a part in Velasquez’s defense, Judge Brown made it clear that the potential for CTE didn’t create a justification for releasing Velasquez from custody.

“The court would find there is no medical change or any change in circumstance that changes the risk analysis for this court,” Brown stated.

“This was such a reckless disregard for human life,” the judge added. “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.”

Goularte’s step-father released his own statement as well. Bender alleged that he has been unable to work since the incident, noting that his brachial artery had been severed due to the gunshot wounds, and that he had lost the use of three fingers as a result.

“Cain Velasquez has no respect for human life,” Bender declared. “He does not care about the rule of law. If given the opportunity, I think he will try to finish what he started.”

If all of that sounds like bad news for the 39-year-old longtime American Kickboxing Academy athlete, Geragos didn’t necessarily sound so displeased. Speaking to MMA Junkie, Velasquez’s attorney said that while he’d definitely prefer to have his client out of custody, he felt that the hearing has opened up an avenue of defense as well.

“Obviously, I respectfully disagree,” Geragos said of the decision to withhold bail. “I think the court has ruled on the facts of the law. However, if there is any kind of of a silver lining, it’s that the court opined he has a viable defense.

“There is a degree of irony in that the accused pedophile and his presumed co-conspirators are out there trying to claim the mantle of victim. I’ll leave it at that. I always prefer having a client out, but Cain is strong. I look forward to vindicating him.”

Velasquez is next scheduled to appear in court on June 10th for a formal plea hearing.