SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A preliminary hearing for former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was held on Monday as prosecutors outlined their attempted murder case against him.

The scene inside the courtroom was anything but ordinary. Professional MMA fighters sat in the courtroom gallery. The defendant was twice as large as the sheriff’s deputy guarding him. And one of the fighter’s fans shouted, “Cain we love you and support you! I hate child molesters! Free Cain!” before escorting himself out of the courtroom.

As witnesses, Santa Clara County prosecutor Aaron French brought in officers from the Morgan Hill and San Jose police departments who investigated a wild February 28 high-speed chase and shooting. Prosecutors say Velasquez attempted to kill an accused child molester, Harry Goularte, when he allegedly chased Goularte’s truck and opened fire multiple times.

Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez appears in the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice on March 2, 2022, in San Jose. (Aric Crabb /Bay Area News Group / Pool)

In a separate case, Goularte is charged with molesting a 4-year-old boy who is a family member of Velasquez. Goularte lived in a house where his mother, Patricia Goularte, owned and operated a San Martin daycare for young children.

Harry Goularte refused to testify at Monday’s hearing by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights, which protect him against self-incrimination.

Velasquez’s celebrity defense attorney, Mark Geragos, picked apart testimony from police officers on the stand and questioned whether their investigations were sloppy.

San Jose Police Department Officer Yanick Mendes admitted that officers made an error in one of their investigation reports that claimed a “bullet casing” was lodged in the Goularte family’s truck.

“We have magic shell casings,” Geragos scoffed after noting casings are not projectiles. French leveled several objections over Geragos’ line of questioning for being argumentative.

Based off testimony and evidence presented at the hearing, Judge Arthur Bocanegra ruled on Tuesday that the case will move forward to trial. Velasquez is charged with premeditated attempted murder.

On Monday, Geragos displayed photographs in court of the MMA star’s pickup truck and Goularte’s pickup truck involved in the wild chase. Police said the chase reached speeds of 100 mph in Morgan Hill. Patricia Goularte called 911 to report that she was in a vehicle with her son and husband, and said they were being chased by Velasquez.

One motorist saw a man holding a gun with both hands who leaned out of his pickup truck and fired at a second truck, Morgan Hill police officer Todd Davis testified.

Prosecutors said the MMA star was aiming for the suspected child molester when Goularte’s stepfather, Paul Bender, was struck by bullets. Bender was interviewed by San Jose Police Department Officer Scott McNulty while he was recovering in a hospital room.

French called McNulty to the witness stand and asked, “Was he able to specifically tell you that the person shooting was Cain Velasquez?” “Yes,” McNulty replied.  

Geragos pointed out that none of the officers who testified Monday directly witnessed the shooting.

Geragos referred to Harry Goularte as a “sexual predator” and “the pedophile” several times during the hearing. 

Morgan Hill Police Department Officer Nathaniel Rodriguez testified that Velasquez was cooperative and respectful when Rodriguez placed the fighter in handcuffs to arrest him.

“He said his (family member) was a victim of molestation … at Patty’s Daycare,” Rodriguez testified.

Geragos asked, “All he said to you was that his (family member) and other children were all molested at this daycare center and it had a profound effect on his (family member)?” “Yes,” Rodriguez replied.

Geragos asked, “Did he say, I just shot up the other truck?” “No,” Rodriguez replied.

The preliminary hearing will continue Tuesday afternoon with Judge Bocanegra expected to make a ruling over Velasquez’s controversial bail. The MMA star has been locked in a Santa Clara County jail ever since his arrest with no bail. Harry Goularte, meanwhile, is free on $0 bail. Velasquez’s supporters organized a #FreeCain movement.

Geragos fought for bail again on Tuesday, telling the judge, “I don’t understand why (Velasquez) is still in custody. He is not a threat to anybody at this point. If there is an ounce of humanity in this District Attorney’s Office, allow him to go home to his family. He needs to be home. This is a man who has been through one of the most traumatic things that any father should have to go through. There is a compelling defense in this case. He has an outpouring of support from the community. He’s not going to do anything to jeopardize this.”

Velasquez’s defense attorney described the District Attorney’s Office as “schizophrenic” in how it handles Harry Goularte.

“This DA’s office has a schizophrenia problem. In one courtroom, they are saying he’s a child predator. And in another courtroom, they’re saying he’s the victim,” Geragos told the judge.