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7 Jun, 2022 15:08

Velasquez alleged shooting victim pleads not guilty

Harry Goularte pleaded not guilty to a single felony charge of a lewd or lascivious act upon a child under 14
Velasquez alleged shooting victim pleads not guilty

The man that former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is accused of shooting at before being charged for attempted murder, Harry Goularte, has pleaded not guilty to a single felony charge of a lewd or lascivious act upon a child under age 14 on Monday.

Goularte appeared in court via video to enter his plea, with the Santa Clara County judge in California issuing him a non-contact order to stay at least 300 feet away from his alleged victim who is Velasquez's four-year-old son.

Goularte was arrested on suspicion of repeatedly molesting the child at a childcare facility run by his mother in February.

On the 25th of that month, he successfully posted bail and was released from custody against the district attorney's wishes, according to reports.

Then ordered to stay at home and stay away from children under the age of 14, Goularte was on his way to pick up an ankle monitoring bracelet when Velasquez's alleged shooting took place.

Velasquez stands accused of firing a .40 caliber gun into a car that contained Goularte, his father-in-law, and his mother in a wild chase and shootout in San Jose's Morgan Hill neighborhood that also saw the Mexican-American ram their vehicle.

Velaszquez allegedly fired several shots into the vehicle's bodywork, with two shots also allegedly hitting Goularte's father-in-law Paul Bender, who was wounded. 

Velasquez faces other gun charges in addition to that for attempted murder and has twice been denied bail by a judge who branded his alleged actions "reckless".

According to veteran prosecutors, the ex-fighter, who has received support from the MMA community, is looking at life in prison if convicted and returns to court on Friday this week for a plea hearing that has already been delayed twice. 

The fact that Velasquez is still in jail while Goularte was released on bail has angered Velasquez's attorney, Mark Geragos.

And while Goularte's attorney insists his client is innocent, Goularte is facing up to eight years behind bars plus a fine of up to $10,000 for his felony charge if convicted.

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