A South Florida beauty queen accused of attacking a man with a baseball bat during a party at her Hialeah home had charges dismissed against her Wednesday.
Vanessa Barcelo, the former Miss Miami Lakes, no longer faces a misdemeanor battery charge in the December 2016 incident, Miami-Dade court records showed.
"Total relief. I cried when the judge said it because this has been the longest seven months of my life," Barcelo said Thursday.
The 27-year-old had the charge dismissed under Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground" law, after a judge ruled she acted in self-defense, the Miami Herald reported.
Barcelo, who was a Miss Florida USA 2017 contestant, was hosting a party at her home to promote her baking business when the alleged attack happened. She allegedly followed the man outside and struck him with the bat while other man started kicking and punching the man.
But in an interview with NBC 6 in February, Barcelo maintained that she was defending her family inside the home – including her sister, who is in a wheelchair.
"I invite someone into my house as a networking, social thing to promote my business and it turned into this horrible scene," Barcelo said. "I had to defend myself and had to defend my cousin and I had to defend my little sister who's in a wheelchair."
Barcelo claimed her cousin got sick from alcohol and the man took her clothes off to give her a shower, the Herald reported. Barcelo said she became uncomfortable and asked the man to leave, and when he didn't, a shouting match ensued, the paper reported.
That's when the alleged attack happened, which left the man hospitalized with a broken cheekbone.
"I never touched him with the bat I was just holding it in self-defense to intimidate him to get out. When I actually held it up to tell him to get out of my house, he actually ripped it out of my hand and started swinging it towards me," Barcelo said Thursday.
Barcelo was initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery and battery, but the charges were reduced to misdemeanor battery in February.
"I've been attacked through social media and my cake business has been attacked and it's just not fair," Barcelo said Thursday. "I did the right thing and I tried to defend a woman that was being taken advantage of because of her intoxication and I tried to just to avoid a huge problem defending somebody and I turned out to be this monster for months."