Testimony resumes Tuesday in the attempted murder and sexual assault trial of War Machine, a former MMA fighter accused of attacking his porn star girlfriend and the man he caught her in bed with.
The girlfriend, Christine Mackinday, known professionally as “Christy Mack” in the adult film industry, previously testified that “War Machine” threatened to kill her multiple times and ultimately brutally attacked her, at times threatening her with a kitchen knife. Corey Thomas, the other victim of the attack, testified that he was also threatened and beaten by War Machine.
War Machine, formerly known as Johnathan Koppenhaver, changed his legal name to avoid a potential trademark dispute.
Mackinday’s mother, Erin, testified at the close of the state’s case on day six of the trial that she witnessed increasing episodes of violence between her daughter and War Machine. When asked if she regretted not calling the police after what she described as the initial attacks, the mother instead said, “no . . . I wish I would have shot you!” while appearing to look directly at the defendant.
Erin Mackinday also testified about a phone conversation she had with War Machine on the night of the alleged August 8, 2014 attack. War machine had said that he and Mack “got into a fight and I had to beat her up,” Erin Mackinday testified.
The prosecution, led by attorney Jacqueline Bluth, rested its case after calling the mother to the stand.
The defense, led by attorney Jay Liederman, called as its first witness oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Steven Saxe. Dr. Saxe testified that despite the gruesome photos of Mack’s injuries, what she suffered was not as severe as it looked.
Critically, he testified that a review of Mack’s medical records revealed, from his perspective, that the injuries to Mack’s face were consistent with only two punches. When pressed, Dr. Saxe admitted that more than two punches could have been dealt, but that any additional punches would have had to land precisely in the same places as the two primary blows he believes the medical records portrayed. Additional strikes, he believes, would have resulted in additional medically-noticeable injuries.
Prosecutors exploited the ambiguity by reminding Dr. Saxe that Mack testified to being unconscious or, at a minimum, unable to remember some of the attack. While Dr. Saxe agreed that it would, in theory, be easier to strike an unconscious victim repeatedly in the same spot, he considered that scenario unlikely. First, he explained that a sustained attack would have resulted, he believed, in greater injuries. Second, he testified, the type of injuries sustained in this attack would not have rendered most victims unconscious. He described unconsciousness from this type of attack and the types of injuries sustained by Mack as “possible,” but “not likely.”
Dr. Saxe said that bruises and swollen features are extremely common after blows or even hard accidental bumps due to the large number of veins in the face. He also testified that it was “impossible” for War Machine to have broken eighteen bones in Christy Mack’s face, which has been alluded to by previous witnesses, as the face contains fewer than that number of bones, which he was able to name from memory.
Dr. Saxe also testified that, in his opinion, multiple surgeries to correct Mack’s injuries were unnecessary. Christy Mack had testified previously that she needed multiple surgeries to repair the damage she said War Machine caused to her face.
Dr. Saxe said that the only medically necessary surgery Mack required was tooth replacement. He testified that any additional surgeries would have been to alleviate complications or for cosmetic reasons.
Mack previously testified that she did not have any elective cosmetic surgeries in tandem with the attack she described.
Testimony is scheduled to resume at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 1:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, on Tuesday, March 14, Day 7 of the trial. LawNewz.com and the LawNewz Network will carry the testimony live. On-air analysis will be suspended, however, due to the severe snow storm currently affecting the Northeastern United States.