Ex-UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was granted a continuance until May 6 for a plea hearing after he was arrested in February on attempted murder charges.
On Tuesday, Velasquez stood in front of a packed courtroom. After the continuance, he appeared he turned toward the gallery and make a heart symbol with his hands for those who showed support during the hearing. Longtime friend and teammate Daniel Cormier and American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez were reportedly in the gallery at the hearing.
Velasquez was represented by attorney Mark Geragos, who filed the request for the continuance that was granted by Judge Jose Franco.
Velasquez was originally arrested on Feb. 28 after he allegedly engaged in an 11-mile, high speed chase while also firing multiple rounds from a .40 caliber handgun in pursuit of a vehicle carrying Harry Goularte, who is accused of molesting a close relative of the ex-UFC heavyweight champion.
Goularte had been released on bail in his own court case over the objections from the district attorney.
Following his release, Velasquez allegedly pursued Goularte from his home before firing several shots at the vehicle. Goularte’s stepfather was ultimately hit by a bullet before he was taken to a hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries from the shooting.
Police later arrested Velasquez without incident and he was then charged with attempted, premeditated murder.
The appearance on Tuesday was his first since Judge Shelyna Brown denied Velasquez bail during his initial arraignment in March, condemning his actions as “extreme recklessness to human life.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Velasquez released his first statement since the alleged shooting and his subsequent arrest.
“To everyone that has expressed your support, my family and I will never be able to thank you enough,” Velasquez wrote in the statement. “From the bottom of our hearts and the depths of our souls, we are forever grateful for your love. Your selfless gestures and kind words have given me strength in my darkest times.”
Since his arrest, Velasquez has received overwhelming support from the MMA community including letters written by UFC President Dana White and others that were sent to the judge overseeing the case prior to his arraignment in March.
If convicted of all charges, Velasquez could face up to 20 years in prison.