Cain Velasquez appeared at a hearing Monday in Santa Clara, but will remain behind bars after a request for bail was denied by the court.
Mark Geragos, the lawyer for Velasquez, argued before Judge Shelyna Brown for the former UFC heavyweight champion, who is charged with attempted murder, amoung other related charges of shooting at a motor vehicle, assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, willfully discharging a firearm from a vehicle, and carrying a loaded firearm with intent to commit a felony.
The hearing took approximately 30 minutes in front of a packed courtroom full of Velasquez supporters, including former UFC champion and friend Daniel Cormier and AKA head coach Javier Mendez.
Similar to the arraignment for Velasquez on March 7, Geragos and the defence team argued for the release of Velasquez, but this time expanded on an argument for a traumatic brain injury, specifically CTE, suffered by Velasquez during his career that could have been a major factor in his alleged actions of shooting a gun at Harry Goluarte and hitting his stepfather Paul Bender. after a high-speed vehicle chase.
Goularte was arrested by police on accusations of “lewd acts” with a Velasquez relative.
“The defense has proposed a medical change with regard to TBI (traumatic brain injury) and CTE,” Judge Brown said at the hearing. “They have presented some evidence that Mr. Velasquez suffers from TBI and possibly from CTE. They argue that perhaps it’s one of, or both of, these medical concerns or conditions that may have led to a lack of impulse control.”
The defence also outlined terms of a bail agreement, including a $1 million posted bail, electronic monitoring, supervision, and residence at an inpatient facility.
The prosecution, led by Aaron French, arguing the bail terms proposed by the defence were not reasonable. Bender, who spoke at the hearing, said that “Cain Velasquez has no respect for human life. He could’ve easily shot the family in the car next to us, innocent pedestrians, or even young children. Cain Velasquez does not care who sees him do this. He does not care about the rule of law and has no respect for our judicial system. If given the opportunity, I believe he will try to finish what he started. I am fearful for my life, as well as for the lives of my family. No amount of bail or GPS monitor will stop Cain Velasquez.”
Judge Brown in her ruling made the following statement:
This court has taken a lot of time in reviewing this case. I’ve reviewed papers submitted by both counsels. I’ve reviewed all of the letters of community support for Mr. Velasquez and the letters in support of Mr. Goularte. The court always appreciates community interest in a case, but the court is not ruled by community opinion at all. The court is ruled only by the law. The law, in this case, is clear. This court has previously ruled and made clear findings in regard to Article 1, Section 12, Subsections B and C. The hearing today is to determine whether there is a change in circumstance that changes the court’s analysis with regard to risk to the community. The defense has proposed a medical change with regard to TBI (traumatic brain injury) and CTE. They have presented some evidence that Mr. Velasquez suffers from TBI and possibly from CTE. They argue that perhaps it’s one of, or both of, these medical concerns or conditions that may have led to a lack of impulse control. They have suggested an unlocked facility in Texas for inpatient and a facility in California for outpatient, possible treatment of these possibly diagnoses. The court will find that there is no medical change or any change in circumstance that changes the risk analysis for this court. A diagnosis of CTE or TBI might be a suitable defense or a pertinent defense or something that should be considered for mitigation. But for this court, it does not establish a change in circumstance under the law. It does not reduce the risk. The court will now rule that the alleged facts of the case are opposite of what CTE alleges. There was CTE or conditions or things that might cause someone to act impulsively, or in this case, the facts allege a deliberate act of following the family to Mr. Goularte’s house, and then waiting for Mr. Goularte, and then shooting at Mr. Goularte and his family. That’s something for the trial court. That’s not an issue for this court. If this court was to find a change in circumstance under the law, release to an unlocked facility out of the state is not a sufficient means that this court would reconsider. The reason this court says that is because 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 a vehicle at the time of this seven-mile chase. This court is not thinking only of Mr. Goularte and his family. This court is considering every single citizen in Santa Clara county who was in proximity to this alleged incident. For these reasons, there are no least-restrictive means that will satisfy this court about the risk to the community. The court will not grant bail at this time. It will not change its prior ruling.
Velasquez wlll return to the court for a plea hearing on June 10 to determine whether or not the case will go to trial, assuming no agreement occurs between the two parties.