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Ex-UFC champ Cain Velasquez granted $1M bail after 8 months in jail on attempted murder charge

Cain Velasquez was granted $1 million bail on Tuesday following eight months of incarceration as he awaits trial on an attempted murder charge.

Police in San Jose, California say the former UFC heavyweight champion shot at a car carrying 43-year-old Harry Eugene Goularte, who's accused of molesting Velasquez's 4-year-old family member. Velsaquez faces multiple gun-related charges in addition to his attempted murder charge.

Velasquez has been incarcerated since his Feb. 28 arrest. According to police, Velsaquez engaged in an 11-mile car chase near San Jose before firing multiple shots with a .40-caliber pistol into a vehicle carrying Goularte, his mother Patricia Goularte and stepfather Paul Bender. A bullet struck Bender in the arm and torso. Bender survived his wounds.

Judge Shelyna Brown previously denied Velasquez bail on three different occasions. Judge Arthur Bocanegra oversaw Tuesday's preliminary hearing in a Santa Clara County courtroom and granted Velaszquez bail alongside a decision that the case will move forward to trial.

“Mr. Velasquez, I would not release you if I was not convinced that upon a release at this time, eight months later, that you would be a danger to Harry Goularte primarily, Patricia Goularte or Paul Bender," Bocanegra said, per court documents obtained by MMA Junkie. "If you are as devoted a husband and father, I’m confident and have to believe you will not jeopardize anything that would take you away from your son, your daughter, your family. I hope you don’t prove me wrong."

“I won’t, your honor," Velasquez responded.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was granted bail after spending the last eight months in jail. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was granted bail after spending the last eight months in jail. (AP Photo/John Locher) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Bocanegra determined that Velasquez, who has no prior record and family ties, is not a flight risk. He also considered Velasquez's overwhelming support in the MMA community, many of whom were present at the hearing and had written letters to the court, KRON reports. Bocanegra ordered Velasquez to home detention, GPS monitoring and outpatient counseling. He also ordered Velasquez to stay away from Goularte and his family.

The alleged shooting took place after Goularte was released on a charge of a felony count of a lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14. Per the San Jose Mercury News, a judge granted him supervised release over the objections of prosecutors.

According to court documents obtained by ESPN, Velasquez's relative told police that Goularte took him into the bathroom of a daycare center on Feb. 24 and touched his genitals. The child told police that he saw other children go into the bathroom with Goularte and that Goularte had done this with him "100 times." Goularte has denied any wrongdoing and is free without bail. He's scheduled for a preliminary hearing in his own criminal case on Nov. 14.

Per KRON, Prosecutor Aaron French contested Velaszquez's release on bail.

“The defense is trying to play into the court’s emotions by saying it’s unfair that Mr. Velasquez is in custody and Harry Goularte is out of custody," French said, per KRON.

Goularte declined to testify at the hearing while invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, KRON reports. A date for Velasquez's trial was not set.

Velasquez, 40, competed in UFC from 2006-19, compiling a 14-3 record as a heavyweight. He defeated Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight championship in 2010 before losing his belt to Junior dos Santos a year later. He defeated dos Santos in 2012 to reclaim the belt and successfully defended it twice before losing to Fabricio Werdum in 2015.