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Former MMA star Cain Velasquez pleads not guilty in shooting

Possible Defense Strategy for Cain Velasquez
Possible Defense Strategy for Cain Velasquez 07:34

SAN JOSE – Former MMA fighter Cain Velasquez pleaded not guilty in connection with a shooting earlier this year, where he allegedly attacked a man suspected of molesting his relative.

A spokesperson for the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office confirmed to KPIX 5 that Cain entered the plea Friday. Cain, who has been denied bail in the case, remains in custody.

The mixed martial arts fighter allegedly attacked sexual assault suspect Harry Goularte during an incident in late February in Morgan Hill.

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 07: SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 7: Cain Velasquez is photographed during a hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on Monday, March 7, 2022, in San Jose, Calif. Velasquez allegedly shot at a car carrying a man charged with molesting his minor relative, and wounded the accused man's stepfather in South San Jose. (Photo by Aric Crabb/MediaNews Group/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

Authorities said Morgan Hill police received word around 3 p.m. Feb. 28 of a shooting near the intersection of Cochrane Road and Butterfield Boulevard. Responding officers arrived to find Paul Bender, Goularte's stepfather, suffering from gunshot wounds. He was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

According to police, Velasquez followed Bender's vehicle because Goularte was inside. At the time of the shooting, Bender was driving Goularte to obtain an electronic monitoring bracelet that was a condition of his release from jail.

Velasquez chased the victim's vehicle, a Chevy Silverado, for 11 miles before ramming into it. After the collision, authorities said Velasquez opened fire on the vehicle with a handgun, hitting Bender. Goularte's mother, who was in the vehicle, called 911.

In April, Velasquez released his first statement on the incident, saying, "This story is complex and slowly unraveling as we speak" in a Twitter post.

According to the DA's office, a judge has scheduled a primary hearing in Cain's case for September 26.  

Goularte has been charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor by the Santa Clara County DA's office. After pleading not guilty, he is scheduled to go on trial in September.

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