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Ex-fighter War Machine gets judge to postpone trial


John Locher / AP

Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver, aka War Machine, speaks with attorney Brandon Sua in court Wednesday, June 3, 2015, in Las Vegas. Koppenhaver has been sentenced to 36 years to life behind bars after being convicted of more than two dozen charges, including sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping.

Updated Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 | 6:09 p.m.

Trial has been postponed until next summer for the former mixed martial arts fighter named War Machine who's accused of trying to kill his porn actress ex-girlfriend and her friend in Las Vegas.

Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver's attorney, Brandon Sua, told a state court judge Monday that the defense wants to conduct independent forensic tests on knives found in the home of the ex-girlfriend, Christy Mack.

Koppenhaver, 33, had been scheduled to go on trial next week on 34 felony charges that also include battery, sexual assault and coercion. He could face life in prison if he's convicted of the most serious counts stemming from the August 2014 incident.

Clark County District Judge Elissa Cadish reset his trial for July 11.

Cadish also agreed to accept written arguments from Sua on a request for a closed-door pretrial hearing of evidence regarding prior consensual sexual relations between Koppenhaver and Mack.

Arguments would be held during a Nov. 23 status hearing.

The judge ruled in June that Sua can't circumvent Nevada's rape victim shield law and put evidence of Mack's sexual history before a jury. The Associated Press usually doesn't identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Mack has agreed to let her name be made public.

Cadish added Monday that she was concerned about further trial delays, particularly after told prosecutors Jacqueline Bluth and Rob Stevens that he might not remain as Koppenhaver's lawyer.

Mack, 24, whose legal name is Christine Mackinday, testified in November that Koppenhaver let himself into her home with a key and attacked her and her friend Corey Thomas while they were sleeping.

Mack told a judge she drifted in and out of consciousness as she was beaten, kicked and groped sexually. She said she escaped outside and ran naked and bleeding to neighbors' homes while she thought Koppenhaver was in the kitchen fetching a knife to finish her off.

Mack described injuries including a broken nose, missing teeth, fractured eye socket, leg injuries and a lacerated liver.

Thomas testified that Koppenhaver broke his nose and dislocated his shoulder before releasing him with a warning that if he went to the police, Koppenhaver would hurt him.

Koppenhaver was arrested at a hotel outside Los Angeles a week after the alleged attack on Mack and Thomas. He remains in state custody, serving 1 1/2 to four years after his probation was revoked in a prior case of attempted battery causing substantial bodily harm.

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