An attorney for the man allegedly shot by Cain Velasquez during a high-speed chase says his client is dealing with a handful of challenges in the wake of the incident.
Paul Bender spoke by video call Monday during a bail hearing for Velasquez, who was denied for the second time. Police say Velasquez shot Bender in the arm while he targeted Bender’s stepson, Harry Goularte, as they were chased in a truck in San Jose, Calif. Velasquez was arrested and charged with attempted murder, among other gun charges. The shooting took place days after Goularte was arrested and released on bail for alleged “lewd acts” with Velasquez’s 4-year-old son.
“I am fearful for my life, as well as for the lives of my family,” Bender said Monday as he lobbied for Velasquez not to receive bail.
Bender also claimed to have suffered a severed brachial artery and nerve as a result of the alleged shooting, which has limited the function of his right arm and left him unable to work.
On Wednesday, Bender’s lawyer, Patrick Steinfeld, shared a photo of Bender’s injury with MMA Junkie. He added that his client is a longtime truck driver, who can no longer pass the proper DOT (Department of Transportation) physical examinations due to lack of mobility in his fingers and arm. Bender is undergoing physical therapy; long-term prognosis is unknown.
According to Steinfeld, both Bender and Patricia Goularte are dealing with numerous issues caused by the alleged incident.
“Patty Goularte said she was crouched down in the vehicle hiding when she heard the bullets piercing metal of their vehicle,” Steinfeld told MMA Junkie. “They are both undergoing therapy at this time. I think there are going to be long-term emotional issues related to this shooting.”
Finishing what Velasquez started?
Additionally, Steinfeld said Bender and Patricia Goularte have encountered numerous instances of intimidation from Velasquez supporters. Police have been called on several occasions, Steinfeld said. He also confirmed a rumor that a molotov cocktail was thrown toward their home on one occasion.
“There has been ongoing intimidation from the Cain Velasquez supporters during this entire proceeding,” Steinfeld said. “There have been no acts of aggression, but the family has been followed. Vehicles have stopped in front of their house for long periods of time and just stared at the Bender household. They’ve been followed to houses of other family members. Paul Bender and Patty Goularte feel threatened by Cain supporters. They find them very intimidating. They fear for their lives. They are afraid that one of Cain’s supporters may try to finish what Cain has started.”
Velasquez’s lead defense attorney, Mark Geragos, told MMA Junkie this week that he was disappointed in Judge Shelyna Brown’s denial of bail for his client. He added that he saw irony in the notion that Harry Goularte’s family are victims.
“There is a degree of irony in that the accused pedophile and his presumed co-conspirators are out there trying to claim the mantle of victim,” Geragos said. “I’ll leave it at that. I always prefer having a client out, but Cain is strong. I look forward to vindicating him.”
‘Trust the judicial system’
Unlike Geragos, Steinfeld agreed with Brown denying Velasquez bail on Monday.
“(Judge Brown) dismissed his arguments and kept Cain Velasquez in jail where we think he belongs,” Steinfeld said. “He’s an absolute menace to society. It was clear on the day of the shooting. He didn’t care who saw him or what the ramifications of his conduct would be. His only concern was killing Harry Goularte.”
Steinfeld asked Velasquez supporters, and the community as a whole, to respect the judicial system as the court proceedings continue.
“The message that the family has to the entire community, as well as the Cain supporters, is to have faith in the judicial system and trust that all victims, young or old, are going to have a voice in the judicial process,” Steinfeld said. “Therefore, trust the judicial system and just let it play out. Justice will prevail.”