Earlier this week, we learned that former fighter War Machine – born Jonathan Koppenhaver – had received a sentence of 36 years to life for his gruesome assault on ex-girlfriend Christy Mack, and her boyfriend at the time, Corey Thomas. War Machine was facing 29 charges including sexual assault, battery and kidnapping.
Now several days removed from this sentencing, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson spoke to MMAJunkie.com to explain why War Machine received such a substantial sentence.
“First and foremost, I think the message is that domestic violence is unacceptable,” he said. “To any of your readers who are in an abusive situation, I would encourage them to reach out to family and friends, police agencies, women’s shelters, or any other kinds of services so they can get out of an abusive relationship.”
“The sentencing, it was stiff,” Wolfson continued. “I think the result would be different with a person that had no previous history and a person that didn’t act out as much as he did.”
“During the proceedings, prior to trial, the judge is the one that sentences you, and during the two years leading up to the trial, he acted out in court in a very aggressive, disrespectful way, and judges are human beings. Although they say they put that aside, it’s hard to put that behavior aside. So when you look at his past with violence, when you look at the amount of violence in the acts themselves, and his attitude, I don’t know that the judge was all that off in delivering such a harsh sentence.”
Wolfson then explained the careful considerations that were given to War Machine during the trial.
“We were aware of the potential defenses that might be presented, whether it be post-traumatic stress disorder, whether it be steroid use, whether it be some brain disorder. We were expecting some or all of that, and that’s why we have a jury system. The jury listened to all of it and rendered the verdict they thought was just.”
Wolfson also commented on War Machine’s newfound faith, stating that his proclaimed relationship with God does not soften the severity of his actions. At the end of day, the DA believes the former fighter received the suitable punishment.
“You can’t shoot somebody in the head, and then a day later say sorry,” he said. “Our society doesn’t work that way. So I hope that he’s found some peace with himself, and the next three decades, or however long he serves in prison, he finds some peace within himself. But he deserved the punishment he got.”
War Machine will be eligible for parole in 36 years, when he is 71 years old.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/8/2017.