San Diego

Jurors See Video at Center of Attempted Rape Case Involving Ex-Navy Commander

In the video shown in court, a woman can be heard crying for someone to stop and yelling at someone to get out of her house

Disturbing video shows the moments a former Navy commander entered the home of a colleague in what prosecutors say was an attempt to rape her.

As part of prosecutors' opening statements Wednesday in the trial of former U.S. Navy Commander John M. Neuhart II, jurors saw video captured by the phone of the defendant.

The former U.S. Navy official has pleaded not guilty to several charges including forcible rape, assault with intent to rape, hot prowl burglary and resisting arrest for the events that took place in San Diego on Sept. 12, 2016.

The 41-minute video was chilling and difficult to watch at times as it showed Neuhart banging on the door of a Valencia Park home and then forcing it open.

Cameras were not permitted to record court proceedings, however, the judge ruled members of the media could document opening statements through still images.

Neuhart and the victim were both stationed in Guam from 2015 to 2016 on orders from the U.S. Navy.

They met at a hotel downtown on the night of the incident when the victim, with a group of friends, recognized Neuhart, according to San Diego Police Sex Crimes Lt. Paul Phillips.

The group talked for a while until the victim left the bar to go home, with Neuhart going as well.

Neuhart allegedly followed the victim into her house, at which point he allegedly attempted to rape her. 

The victim testified at a preliminary hearing that Neuhart took off her pants without consent.

She testified that she pushed him out of her home, but prosecutors say Neuhart returned through the doors on her back balcony. 

Neuhart allegedly told her to get a condom, then threw her against the stove and kitchen counter, the victim testified. She said her pit bull, Jax, bit Neuhart in an attempt to protect her from the assault. 

In the video shown in court, a woman can be heard crying for someone to stop and yelling at someone to get out of her house.

A neighbor heard screams and ran to the front of the house to ask if the victim was okay. When she answered no, the neighbor called 911 and said through the window that the police were on the way. 

The video that played in the courtroom showed Neuhart running from the home. The phone continues to record video from inside the defendant's pocket. 

The neighbor flagged down police when they arrived and pointed out Neuhart, who was running down the street and into a nearby canyon. 

Officers apprehended Neuhart in the canyon and took him into custody. 

In previous court appearances, defense attorney Kerry Armstrong claimed the victim flirted and kissed the defendant and the contact was consensual after a night out drinking.

The former commander was in the military for more than 15 years. Neuhart was the commanding officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, based at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. 

If convicted, Neuhart could face life in prison. 

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