During Monday’s opening statements in the trial of War Machine, the court heard disturbing details of how the MMA fighter threatened to kill ex-girlfriend Christy Mack after beating the defenceless woman for two hours.
"This is it," War Machine said as he stood over Mack’s body after hours of abuse (h/t Las Vegas Review Journal). "I’ve got to kill you now."
War Machine, formerly known as Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, is on trial for 34 felony charges, including attempted murder, kidnapping and various counts of sexual assault. The fighter pleaded not guilty to all 34 counts before a jury comprised of eight men and eight women listened to a harrowing 911 call made by Mack during the attack on August 8, 2014.
According to the prosecution, Koppenhaver walked into Mack’s home and found her asleep with then-boyfriend Corey Thomas in her bed. While explaining the incident to the jury, the prosecution played the 911 audio recording, where Mack’s frantic screams of "Jon, let go of him" rang audibly for all to hear. Lawnewz.com revealed that the tape was "used in the opening statement to give the jury a preview of what to expect when the State presents their case against War Machine."
During Thomas’ testimony, which was the main focus on the opening day, he explained that Koppenhaver attacked him first, landing punch after punch before placing him in a choke hold. Thomas claimed he could see stars in front of his eyes and thought to himself, "I’m going to die in Christy’s bathroom." He eventually managed to escape the chokehold, staggered to his feet, and asked Koppenhaver, "You gotta kill me, or you gotta let me go."
Koppenhaver allowed a bloodied Thomas to walk out of the house, at which point he turned his attention on Mack, whom he allegedly assaulted for two hours. The vicious attack left Mack with 10 broken bones, including a broken nose, missing and broken teeth, a fractured rib, and a fractured eye socket. She also had a lacerated liver and other severe bruising. According to the prosecution, Mack escaped when Koppenhaver went into the kitchen and pounded on neighbours’ doors naked until she was let in.
The prosecution also argued that this was not the first time that Koppenhaver had abused Mack during their relationship. They referenced "times when War Machine choked Mack and put her in a chokehold" and that he "slammed [her] head into dashboard." (h/t @AntonioNews3LV).
Koppenhaver,35, made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale, where he won KO and Fight of the Night honors. He fought once more for the organization before being released in 2008 following a submission loss.
Opening statements are expected to resume on Tuesday.