Former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, a.k.a. War Machine, was today sentenced to life in prison in a Las Vegas, Nevada, courtroom for his brutal attack on ex-girlfriend Christy Mack almost three years ago, which sent her to hospital with horrific injuries and has left her emotionally scarred most likely forever. War Machine, 35, will be eligible for parole in 36 years (2053) when he is 71 years old.
Two months ago War Machine was found guilty on 29 of 34 counts, including battery, sexual assault and kidnapping, but avoided attempted murder charges thanks to a hung jury. Mack’s emotional and raw testimony was a big reason behind his conviction, later revealing on HBO’s “Real Sports” that she “felt like she was going to die” during the attack. She actually made a teary-eyed statement at the very end of today’s lengthy hearing, pleading with the judge to issue War Machine the maximum sentence.
And she did just that.
Meanwhile, his attorney, Jay Leiderman, tried unsuccessfully to lobby for a new trial, claiming that it was a case of “blind rage” and that he had insufficient time to prepare for the case. The judge, though, denied the motion, stating that it had to be filed within seven days of the initial verdict. During the sentencing portion of the hearing, Leiderman blamed War Machine’s behavior in part on his mother, steroids and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), claiming that he is now a new man after three years behind bars after finding christ.
Adam Herbets of FOX 5 Vegas was on the scene with the play-by-play details:
Defense: I know the court doesn't want to do this again, but we should have been able to use this defense. It was a blind rage. #WarMachine— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) June 5, 2017
Defense attorney (@LAWMachine): I didn't have much time to prepare for trial. Just a few weeks. He was entitled to unconsciousness defense.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) June 5, 2017
War Machine, who reiterated his attorney’s claim that he was a changed and better man, addressed the court and was remorseful for his actions.
#WarMachine: Not a day goes by that I don't regret the things that I did.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) June 5, 2017
#WarMachine: I hate that I had to hurt the woman I love. This has helped me begin to grow into a real man.— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) June 5, 2017
War Machine, who pleaded “not guilty” during the trial, turned down two previous plea deals, one that would have seen him serve 16 years to life in prison and the other for 18 to 40 years.
For an extensive background on this case, including his attempted suicide, police reports, eyewitness testimony and much more, click here.