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March 07, 2017

War Machine Trial Continues With Testimony of Brutal Beatings at His Hands

LAS VEGAS, NV—The trial of mixed martial arts fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver began in Las Vegas Superior Court yesterday, where the beefy 35-year-old faces 34 criminal counts, including sexual assault, attempted murder and kidnapping of his former girlfriend, adult actress Christy Mack and her new boyfriend, Corey Thomas. The charges stem from an incident in Simi Valley on August 8, 2014, when Koppenhaver (who legally changed his name to his MMA moniker "War Machine," but has used "Koppenhaver" in his legal pleadings) allegedly burst into the home in which Mack and Thomas were living together, pulling Thomas out of the bed he shared with Mack and began beating him severely, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder, a broken nose and bite marks on his face. The attack, according to testimony, lasted 12 minutes and ended only after Thomas promised not to "snitch" on Koppenhaver—whereupon Thomas left, and Koppenhaver turned his attention to Mack, proceeding to beat her for nearly two hours in the couple's bathroom, at one point reportedly saying, "This is it. I’ve got to kill you now." In the end, Mack, who had called 911 as soon as Koppenhaver entered, was left with a fractured eye-socket, missing teeth, a broken nose, damaged liver and cuts and bruises on her legs—and she only avoided more by having escaped and run to neighbors for assistance. When opening statements began Monday morning, Prosecutor Jacqueline Bluth painted a depressing picture of the relationship between Koppenhaver and Mack, telling jurors that Koppenhaver had often abused Mack in public places, and that she "liked to be choked during sex, sometimes to unconsciousness." When the defense's turn came, Koppenhaver's attorney Jay Leiderman didn't deny that a fight had taken place, but attempted to frame the altercation as part of a "co-dependency that was bound to erupt at some time," referring to the couple as "two damaged people" who, according to an Associated Press account, had "deep image insecurities and a co-dependent relationship that revolved around sex, constant attention and internet personas that exploded into violence." Leiderman also told the jury of so-called "rape fantasies" that the couple had engaged in—a topic that had been a bone of contention at pretrial hearings, with a judge having ruled just last Thursday that the topic could be discussed with the jury after a witness testified that Koppenhaver often used the phrase "Real men rape," and Mack stated at the hearing that, "That was a joke between us. That was a pretty common slogan for him to say, and yes, I would repeat it back to him ... I did actually ask him to play out a rape fantasy one time, but it never came to fruition," adding that such a fantasy would have included a "very specific set of guidelines and rules [that] would be set down and laid out before the acts are actually done, for safety reasons and consent reasons"—a concept that Mack, as an adult star, would have been very familiar with. "I wouldn’t want to have an actual rape happen," she stated at the hearing. After both sides' opening statements, the prosecution's first witness was Corey Thomas, who spent the rest of the day describing how the attack first occurred, and cataloging his injuries—and listening to Mack's 911 call, which was played for the jury. "Jon, stop!" Mack could be heard saying on the 911 tape. "You’re going to kill him!" Thomas then testified that Koppenhaver choked him and beat him about the face as the pair fought on the floor for several minutes, ending only after Thomas struggled to his feet and told his assailant, "You gotta kill me, or you gotta let me go"—whereupon Koppenhaver allowed Thomas to leave the house, and turned his attention to Mack. Testimony was scheduled to resume this morning. Koppenhaver faces possible life in prison if convicted of all charges. Pictured: Corey Thomas and Christy Mack after having been beaten.

 
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