DEFENCE: Cain Velasquez likely overloaded in heat of impassioned pursuit of accused child molester

Former UFC champion Cain Velasquez is facing attempted first-degree murder charges after he allegedly chased a vehicle with three people in it for 11 miles, police say. They claim he was shooting into the vehicle. It looks like a scene from a movie.

Police say Velasquez attempted to shoot a man accused of assaulting his close relative who is a child. In the car were the accused, his mother who operated a day care center with which Velasquez had contracted for two years and her husband.

It’s unclear whether the child allegedly molested was Velasquez’s own child or another relative, but the relationship was close and police say it was Velasquez who contracted with the woman who ran a daycare center at his home. Her adult son lived in the house around the children and police said they found enough evidence of sexual assault to charge him.

Although a prosecutor recommended that the accused child molester be held in jail, he was released on bail by a judge.

Police say Velasquez drove to the home of the daycare operator and chased the car with her, her husband and her son inside, shooting into the vehicle multiple times during the chase. They accuse Velasquez of trying to kill the accused assailant, but say he shot the stepfather instead.

In California, there is a legal theory called the Kill Zone Theory that works on the premise that even if you accidentally shoot or injure someone else, and not your target, you are still responsible for the crime. In other words, the intent to kill someone is transferred to the other person, because you’re essentially endangering everyone in that area. Velasquez is therefore charged with attempted first-degree murder and prosecutors accuse him of planning (aka premeditating) it. Police documents say police recovered a firearm from Velasquez’s car that contained nine bullets in a 10-round magazine and another 10-round magazine along with casings from the passenger seat. He also says people in the car identified Velasquez as the person who shot them.

Generally, the use of a firearm and in particular the act of shooting someone in California can be used as evidence of a direct step towards attempted murder. Loading a firearm can also be used as evidence of planning. For there to be attempted murder, prosecutors cannot simply prove planning. A direct step must be taken. Being convicted of attempted first-degree murder could result in a life sentence in California, with the possibility of parole. Proven use of a firearm significantly increases the sentence because California has strict gun laws. It’s called “10-20-life”. Just for shooting a gun can add another 20 years to someone’s sentence and killing someone or causing grievous bodily harm with a gun can add 25 years to someone’s life in prison ‘a, if found guilty. Velasquez could already face life if convicted on a charge of attempted first-degree murder and use of a firearm resulting in injury, could add another 25 lives to that.

However, prosecutors must also prove intent to kill to secure a conviction. This is where Velasquez can try to mount a defense. He can claim that he did not intend to kill anyone, but was simply trying to scare them or hurt the accused assailant. But Velasquez’s biggest defense is that it was a shot of the moment (if in fact he did what he is accused of.)

To charge someone with intentional homicide rather than attempted murder, you must believe that the person acted in the heat of the moment. Instant crimes require provocation. But the provocation does not have to take place just before the crime occurs. Although sometimes there is a fight followed by a shootout, the period of time someone warms up can also be a long one. It doesn’t have to be short-lived.

Do you have to take the law into your own hands? No. Look what happened. Velasquez now faces life in prison if convicted and the accused assailant is free on bail. However, under the law, if a reasonable person in the same circumstances felt compelled to do what Velasquez did, provocation is sufficient to warrant an impassioned charge. That’s not to say that a reasonable person would get into a high-speed chase and try to shoot someone in the car. The test only asks if a reasonable person would feel the way they wanted. In my opinion, anyone would get excited if they found out that a minor child had been abused, especially if the child was a parent. The provocation could theoretically have lasted long enough for someone to get a gun, load it, and go after a vigilante.

The prosecutor probably chose the attempted first degree murder charge because he felt he had a strong and provable case. There was a recovered gun and shell casings, there were witnesses, Velasquez was identified by the victims, and evidence of a gun being loaded and fired could potentially fill a burden for prove planning and a direct step in prosecuting a crime. Also, the prosecutor may want to try to set an example to prevent others from trying to take the law into their own hands.

However, given the circumstances, I think Velasquez has a very strong defense that he’s overloaded. If in fact Velasquez did what he is accused of, it seems to have been done in the heat of the moment or in the heat of passion. In my opinion, anyone with a rational mind would probably feel the same way. A defense attorney’s argument would be that there was enough provocation, that it went on for a while, and that a reasonable person would feel that heat under the same circumstances.

The difference in sentence is drastic when convicted of manslaughter or attempted murder. Rather than face a double life sentence, Velasquez would face a maximum of about five years on a voluntary manslaughter charge. Now maybe he can make a plea deal on a lesser charge or maybe a jury will acquit him or if he finds him guilty it will be on a lesser charge.

Anyway, the circumstances here must be known. In my opinion, it is well overloaded. Many people feel the same as there is a Free Cain movement on social media and many of his fellow fighters are coming to his DEFENSE.

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