San Diego

Alleged Victim Had 10+ Drinks on Night of Alleged Attempted Rape involving Ex-Navy Commander

Jurors saw surveillance video Thursday of Kristen B. falling out of a chair in the bar and stumbling as she tried to walk down a hallway in the hotel

The alleged victim of an attempted rape had at least ten drinks throughout the day leading up to that alleged altercation between her and a former U.S. Navy official, she said in continuing court proceedings Thursday.

Prosecutors say Navy Commander John Michael Neuhart II tried to rape a female colleague at her home last year.

The former U.S. Navy official has pleaded not guilty to several charges including attempted 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.

Thursday, the alleged victim, identified as Kristen B., testified she had a glass of champagne and eight beers the day of the alleged crime.

Kristen B. said she attended a country-western concert with Navy colleagues, before meeting up with them and other friends, including Neuhart, that night at the lobby bar of the downtown Manchester Grand Hyatt.

Kristen B. testified she had several more drinks that night, and eventually ended up alone with Neuhart at the hotel’s rooftop bar.

She repeatedly said she had little or no memory of those events.

Jurors saw surveillance video Thursday of Kristen B. falling out of a chair in the bar and stumbling as she tried to walk down a hallway in the hotel.

The video also shows her and Neuhart embracing and kissing at least once, but also clearly shows her pushing Neuhart away more than once when he tried to embrace her and after he kissed her.

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.

Kristen B. testified that she does not remember any of that physical contact. She said such contact and attention from Neuhart would have been unwelcome, and that she was not attracted to her Navy superior.

She also told jurors, “He was married, and I’m not interested in married men.”

The alleged rape happened later, at the victim's home.

On Wednesday, the jury saw a 41-minute video captured on Neuhart's phone of the moment he entered her Valencia Park home in what prosecutors say was an attempt to rape her.

The video showed Neuhart banging on the door of the home and then forcing it open.

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 Wednesday, 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 cellphone video that played in the courtroom Wednesday 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. 

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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