Jon War Machine Koppenhaver is facing life behind bars after a Las Vegas jury found him guilty on 29 of the 34 charges he was facing for the beating of his girlfriend and her male friend in 2014.
Koppenhaver, who legally changed his name to War Machine in 2008, is a former mixed martial artist (MMA). He competed on the Ultimate Fighting Championship between 2007 and 2008, and finished his career with a 14-5 record.
But War Machine is most infamous for his criminal convictions.
In August of 2014, Koppenhaver entered the Las Vegas home of porn star Christy Mack to find her in bed with a man named Corey Thomas. Koppenhaver proceeded to pummel Thomas before turning his violence on Mack.
When the roughly two-hour assault was over, Mack was left missing teeth, had a ruptured liver, broken ribs, and a broken eye socket.
During her testimony of the attack, Mack said, “He looks at me and says ‘now I have to kill you. I’ve gone too far.'” Mack managed to escape and ran to neighbors for help.
War Machine will be sentenced on June 5. The 29 charges come with the possibility of life in prison.
Death Sentence Avoided
While advocates for domestic violence victims celebrated the verdict, the jury couldn’t come to terms on the most serious charge of attempted murder. That will keep War Machine off death row regardless of the judge’s sentencing.
Life in prison is just fine with Mack.
“Today was a great victory for myself, as well as victims of DV everywhere,” Mack tweeted. “Please continue to speak out, and stay strong! Thank you all for your support through the years.”
War Machine’s attorney Jay Leiderman says he will appeal the verdict and seek a new trial for his client. “He’s a tough guy. He stood up there, and he took the verdicts, but he’s got a long time now to have this sink in,” Leiderman said.
Leiderman is known for being a “hacktivist advocate,” a lawyer who represents hackers and those charged with computer crimes. He allegedly keeps an encrypted chat app open for people associated with Anonymous to obtain free legal advice.
The prosecution’s failure to convince the jury that War Machine was guilty of attempted murder might be the best-case scenario for those who want him to be punished in the harshest manner possible.
Two months after his arrest in 2014, War Machine was found unresponsive in his High Desert State Prison cell in Nevada. A suicide note was also discovered, but medical staff was able to stabilize Koppenhaver within 15 minutes.
Athletes and Violence
The UFC and MMA certainly isn’t the only sport with its fair share of domestic violence cases. One of the more serious incidents in sports also came in 2014 with former Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice.
Three years ago, Rice and his then-fiancé (now wife) Janay Palmer were in Atlantic City at the Revel Casino. After partying the night away and becoming highly intoxicated, Rice punched Palmer and knocked her out cold in an elevator. He was later found guilty of third-degree aggravated assault.