Jonathan “War Machine” Koppenhaver faces life in prison for the brutal beating and rape of his ex-girlfriend Christine “Christy Mac” Mackinday back in August 2014. Koppenhaver obviously doesn’t want to take responsibility for his reprehensible actions. Instead, he would like to blame anabolic steroids for turning him into a woman-beating rapist.
— Jay Leiderman (@JayLeidermanLaw) March 18, 2017
Jay Leiderman, the defense attorney representing Koppenhaver, made anabolic steroids the key element in his defense strategy. Leiderman hoped that jurors would see “roid rage” as a viable defense to explain Koppenhaver’s sadistic violence and aggression.
— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) March 17, 2017
The decision to blame steroids was certainly a sign of desperation. After all, blaming the victim as a porn star who enjoyed fulfilling rape fantasies isn’t a very good defense to justify an assault that left Mackinday with a blowout fracture to her left eye socket, a broken nose, two missing teeth, a fractured rib and a lacerated liver. Mackinday required reconstructive facial and dental surgery to repair the damage. Given the societal stigma associated with steroids, why not blame steroids?
When Mackinday took the stand to testify at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on March 8, 2017, Leiderman quickly laid out his plan for blaming steroids during his cross-examination of Mackinday. He directly asked Mackinday about War Machine’s history of steroid use.
“I would watch him inject himself,” Mackinday said. “I knew he would take pills every once in awhile.”
Leiderman quickly tried to connect the steroid use with “sudden emotional outbursts” displayed by his client. But Macinday dismissed the connection stating that Koppenhaver would act abusively towards her just as frequently when he was off of steroids as when he was on steroids.
Leiderman called a couple of Koppenhaver’s friends to testify that the MMA fighter did in fact use anabolic steroids. Herman “Hit Man” Terrado said Koppenhaver discussed his steroid cycles when they trained together at the gym. Another friend testified that the former UFC fighter injected steroids at his house.
Koppenhavar reportedly also used the prescription drugs Lexapro and Adderall. Leiderman argued that it was the steroids added to a cocktail of Lexapro and Adderall that caused Koppenhaver to “lose his mind” in a “blind rage”.
Fortunately, the steroid defense strategy didn’t work. Steroids did not cause War Machine to assault Christy Mack. Steroids were not allowed to be the scapegoat for Koppenhaver’s behavior. Instead, the twelve Las Vegas jurors placed the blame squarely where it belonged. On March 20, 2017, the jury convicted Koppenhaver on 29 out of 34 counts including battery, coercion, strangulation, kidnapping, sexual assault and sexual assault with the use of a deadly weapon. He was acquitted on three counts.
Today was a great victory for myself, as well as victims of DV everywhere. Please continue to speak out, and stay strong!
— Christy Mack (@ChristyMack) March 20, 2017
Jurors were deadlocked on the most serious charges of attempted murder. War Machine still faces the possibility of life in prison without parole based on the kidnapping and sexual assault with a deadly weapon convictions. War Machine is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, 2017.