MIAMI – Miss Miami Lakes USA appeared in court Thursday as the state formally charged her with one count of misdemeanor battery for allegedly attacking a local DJ with a bat.
She initially faced charges of aggravated battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery after the December incident at her Hialeah home.
Vanesa Barcelo spoke to Local 10 News after the hearing and said that she was innocent and protecting her relatives.
"I'm a young girl, I live by myself and I work very hard to be able to live by myself and to own my own house and to have my cake business," Barcelo said. "And I invite someone to my house just for networking, you know, to promote my cake business, and it turned into this horrible scene and I had to defend myself. I had to defend my cousin and I had to defend my little sister who is in a wheelchair."
According to a police report, Barcelo got into an argument with a guest at her "ugly sweater party" and ordered him to leave.
Police said Barcelo swung a blue Nike baseball bat at the guest, 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.
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.
The memo also describes how Duperon allegedly 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.
"I'm ready to show everybody who I really am and show how I would never do something like that," Barcelo said. "You know, I just had to defend myself. I had to protect myself and my family members."
Local 10 News tried to contact Duperon and his attorney for comment, but they have not replied.