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Fighter War Machine to face trial on 34 felonies

November 15, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A mixed martial arts fighter who changed his name to War Machine was ordered Friday to stand trial in Nevada state court on 34 felony charges including attempted murder, sexual assault and kidnapping that could get him life in prison for allegedly attacking his porn star ex-girlfriend and her friend.

Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver’s leg shackles rattled softly as he sat while his ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack, testified she feared he was fetching a knife to finish her off when she ran bruised, bleeding and naked from her house and knocked on neighbors’ doors for help early Aug. 8.

Mack testified she remembered tasting blood when she came to on the floor of the running shower, and a kick in the abdomen sending her back to the bathroom floor when she tried to get to her feet.

“I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I don’t remember getting out of the shower. I just remember being on the floor. Naked on the floor. Cold.”

Mack sobbed as she viewed photos of her injuries including a broken nose, missing teeth, fractured eye socket, leg injuries and a lacerated liver. She said she had cut marks on her head, and remembered Koppenhaver inserting a knife in her ear while threatening to kill her.

That knife broke as Koppenhaver cut her hair and wigs, she said. She decided to flee when she heard Koppenhaver in the kitchen rummaging through drawers for another knife.

“I shudder to think what would have happened had she not escaped,” Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson said minutes later.

The judge added two felony charges to 32 previously lodged against Koppenhaver and bound him over for trial on charges also including coercion, burglary, attempted sexual assault, preventing or dissuading a witness or victim from reporting a crime and strangulation.

Koppenhaver didn’t testify Friday. Defense attorney Brandon Sua said he’ll plead not guilty at his arraignment Thursday in Clark County District Court.

One new charge, sexual assault, alleges Koppenhaver raped Mack one more time than previously alleged.

The other, felony battery causing substantial bodily harm, stemmed from Koppenhaver’s alleged attack on Corey Thomas, a computer shop owner who was staying the night at Mack’s house when Koppenhaver let himself in with a key, and found them in her bedroom after 1 a.m.

The judge also heard muffled sounds of a struggle and screams recorded after Mack dialed police and left the phone line open. Mack testified that Koppenhaver was attacking Thomas at the time.

“Jon. Stop! Please stop!” a woman’s voice says.

The Associated Press usually does not identify alleged victims of sex assault, but Mack agreed to the use of her name in this case.

Koppenhaver, who also has acted in porn productions, was arrested Aug. 15 at a hotel in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley. He was dropped by his fight promoter, Bellator MMA, after Mack’s accusations were made public.

He made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007 and lost his only pay-per-view bout in 2008. He had a 14-5 record as a welterweight and last fought in October 2013.

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