Fighter War Machine pleads not guilty in Vegas

BY foxsports • November 20, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) A mixed martial arts fighter who legally changed his name to War Machine pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that could get him life in a Nevada prison without parole for allegedly trying to kill his porn actress ex-girlfriend and her friend in Las Vegas.

Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, 33, spoke during his brief arraignment in Nevada state court to acknowledge that he understood the 34 felony charges against him, and to enter his plea. Charges include attempted murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, and attempted sexual assault, battery, strangulation and coercion.

Clark County District Court Hearing Master Melisa De La Garza set trial for Feb. 17 before Judge Elissa Cadish.

Koppenhaver remained in custody. His defense attorney, Brian Watkins, declined to comment outside the courtroom.

Koppenhaver's ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack, didn't attend.

Mack, 23, whose legal name is Christine Mackinday, testified at a preliminary hearing last Friday that Koppenhaver let himself into her home with a key early Aug. 8 and attacked her and her friend Corey Thomas, while they were sleeping.

The Associated Press usually doesn't identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Mack agreed to let her name be made public.

Thomas testified that Koppenhaver broke his nose and dislocated his shoulder before Koppenhaver allowed him to leave the house with a warning that if he went to the police, Koppenhaver would hurt him.

The 115-pound Mack testified she feared enraging the 195-pound Koppenhaver even more if she also tried to leave with Thomas.

Mack described drifting in and out of consciousness as she was beaten, kicked and groped sexually. She said she escaped when she thought Koppenhaver was fetching a kitchen knife to finish her off, and ran naked and bleeding to neighbors' homes to knock on doors for help.

Mack sobbed as she viewed photos of her 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 threatening her with a dull knife.

Koppenhaver, who made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut in 2007, had a 14-5 record as a welterweight. He was dropped by his fight promoter, Bellator MMA, after Mack's accusations became public.

Koppenhaver was arrested Aug. 15 at a hotel in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley.

He told a judge at his initial Nevada court appearance in September that he would use the name Koppenhaver in court.