A South Florida beauty queen got a legal victory Friday in a Miami-Dade courtroom as her charges from a December 2016 incident were reduced.
Vanessa Barcelo, the current Miss Miami Lakes, saw her felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon reduced to a misdemeanor charge of battery. Barcelo will appear in court on a later date for that charge.
"I’m ready to take this next step and prove my innocence,” Barcelo said following the hearing. "I’m ready to show who I am since everyone has this picture of me."
The 26-year-old had been arrested after police say she attacked a man inside her Hialeah home with a baseball bat during a party late last year. She allegedly followed him outside and struck him with the bat while other man started kicking and punching the man.
Barcelo has 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," said Barcelo. "I had to defend myself and had to defend my cousin and I had to defend my little sister who's in a wheelchair."
Her lawyer, James Demiles, anticipates the case will go to trial.
"We are not going to plead to something that didn’t happen," Demiles said. "We will continue to maintain Vanessa’s innocence."