Testimony in the second day of the so-called “War Machine” trial presented a confusing scene, as neighbors and police officers struggled to comprehend what had occurred, and where.
“War Machine,” formerly known as Jonathan Koppenhaver, is a mixed martial arts fighter who faces 34 counts, including attempted murder, battery, sexual assault, coercion, and domestic violence offenses related to an alleged attack on his girlfriend, Christine MacKinday, and her date, Corey Thomas. MacKinday is professionally known as “Christy Mack,” the adult film performer. During the alleged attack, MacKinday called 911, and operators recorded her screams for help. Prosecutors played that recording during opening statements, painting a violent scene.
Prosecutors called to the stand two police officers who tried to locate the source of that initial 911 call by MacKinday. MacKinday did not speak to the operator, so police had to rely on GPS technology to triangulate the source of the call. The technology, they testified, attempted to match a street address to location coordinates provided by the cellular telephone call. Sometimes, they explained, the technology does not work. In this case, the technology sent police to the wrong house.
MacKinday survived and eventually left the house where the attack is said to have occurred. She reportedly sought help from neighbors, some of whom called 911. Those neighbors testified to a confusing night, with a woman they did not know frantically seeking help by going house to house. Some neighbors were afraid to open their doors to offer aid. Instead, they called 911. Some 911 calls played into evidence contained suggestions by operators that neighbors not open their doors until officers arrived. Some neighbors dialed 911 a second time out of concerns that police were not arriving fast enough. Through the commotion, the various neighbors did seem to agree that MacKinday was bleeding, badly beaten, and covered with a sheet or a blanket while she was seeking help. One neighbor, a vacationing paramedic who was only temporarily renting a house in the area, testified that MacKinday was bleeding from the face and swollen when she approached his rental home. He testified that she thanked him multiple times for offering to help, that her speech was slurred, and that she eventually collapsed to the ground.
One police officer tasked with investigating sex crimes testified that MacKinday struggled to recall the entire chain of events shortly after the attack. Testimony was slow and difficult, with frequent objections by defense counsel. Defense attorneys appeared concerned with the degree of detail officers were providing regarding the type of crimes specific officers investigate. Though the objections were largely argued in sidebars and outside the view of the press, the concern appeared to be that that an officer who investigates a certain type of crime could, by mere presence, potentially suggest to a jury that that particular type of crime had, indeed, occurred.
Similar objections occurred during the testimony of a sexual assault examiner, who largely testified as to the severity and the location of MacKinday’s injuries. Her testimony will continue into Day 3.
The day began with concluding testimony of Corey Thomas. Thomas, who had previously testified that “War Machine” choked him nearly the point of unconsciousness and threatened to kill him. He testified further about his relationship with MacKinday. The couple had been dating for two months. Text messages sent by MacKinday to Thomas stated that she could not give “100%” of herself to him or their relationship 100%” of herself to him or their relationship. Thomas took that to mean she was soul-searching, not that her previous boyfriend was still in her life.
Defense attorneys spent time with multiple witnesses questioning the severity of Thomas’ injuries. Corey Thomas testified that he left the scene, then later contacted the authorities; however, police testified he could not write out his initial statement because he was either too shaken or too injured to do so. Defense attorneys also spent time questioning — or reiterating — MacKinday’s lack of ability to recall various details of the attack.
WATCH LAWNEWZ NETWORK:
Ronn Blitzer and Aaron Keller contributed to this report.