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Miss Miami Lakes USA says she's 'innocent'

Vanesa Barcelo says she 'was a hero' in December incident that led to arrest


MIAMI – A woman who was crowned Miss Miami Lakes USA appeared in court Friday to face charges stemming from her December arrest in Hialeah.

Vanesa Barcelo spoke to Local 10 News after her arraignment was reset until next week.

"I feel that I'm innocent, and that will be proven," Barcelo said.

Her lawyer was by her side.

"We have faith in the Miami-Dade (County) state's attorney's office that they will make the right decision and justice will prevail," attorney James DeMiles said.

Barcelo faces charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery stemming from an altercation during an "ugly sweater party" at her Hialeah home.

According to a Hialeah police report, Barcelo got into an argument with a guest at the party and ordered him to leave.

Police said Barcelo armed herself with a blue Nike baseball bat that she kept in her living room and pushed him with the bat before swinging it at him, hitting him on his right shoulder.

According to the report, Barcelo and another man attacked the guest while he was on the ground outside.

However, a memorandum that was sent to prosecutors from Barcelo's lawyer paints a different picture of the events.

File: Vanesa Barcelo Defense Pre-File Memorandum

It describes how the guest, South Florida radio DJ Dave Duperon, was invited to help promote Barcelo's cake business. It claims that Duperon was introducing himself to partygoers and "aggressively asking them to drink and dance with him because of his intoxicated state."

The memo claims that Duperon locked himself in the upstairs master bedroom with Barcelo's unconscious cousin, so Barcelo barged in with some other guests and ordered Duperon to leave.

"That's really what happened," Barcelo said. "I was a hero in this situation."

DeMiles listed multiple witnesses, including a security guard, who said the fight broke out after Duperon refused to leave, took the bat and started swinging at other guests.

"That's not our call," DeMiles said when asked if he believes that Duperon will face charges. "That I can't say, but I can tell you that, you know, that's what we certainly hope for, because, unfortunately, Ms. Barcelo was arrested, and she shouldn't have been."

The memo also describes how Duperon struck one of Barcelo's guests with the bat before another guest subdued him. It also claims that Barcelo's cousin went to a hospital to have a rape kit administered, the results of which are pending.

Local 10 News tried to contact Duperon and his attorney for comment, but they have not replied.


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