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Former UFC champion Cain Velasquez pleads not guilty to attempted murder charge

Former UFC champ Cain Velasquez pleads not guilty to attempted murder charge
Former UFC champ Cain Velasquez pleads not guilty to attempted murder charge 00:37

SAN JOSE -- Now out on bail, former UFC champion Cain Velasquez was back in a San Jose courtroom Monday, pleading not guilty to felony attempted murder, assault and weapons charges. 

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Arthur Bocanegra concluded a two-day preliminary hearing earlier this month, ruling that Velasquez must stand trial on the charges stemming from a February shooting. 

Bocanegra also allowed the former UFC star to post $1 million in bail and imposed an array of conditions including GPS monitoring so Velasquez could leave the county jail cell where had been held since his arrest eight months ago.

Prosecutors had opposed bail, claiming Velasquez continues to be a threat to his alleged victim. It's a plea that was voiced again on Monday by Deputy District Attorney Leigh Frazier.

"The victims in this case are frankly terrified, have left their home and are living in a hotel right now," Frazier told the judge Monday according to the San Jose Mercury News. 

Velasquez also asked Bocanegra to lift the court-imposed travel restriction so the former UFC star could take part in a wrestling event next month in Arizona.  The judge said he would make a decision on the request later this week.

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.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, three days earlier, Goularte Jr. was arraigned on a charge of a lewd and lascivious act with a child, based on claims that he abused Velasquez's child at a San Martin home daycare run by his mother.  

Velasquez faces up to life in prison if he's convicted of the counts filed against him at a trial sometime in 2023.

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