SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/CNS) - A retrial was underway Wednesday for a former Navy commander accused of trying to rape a junior officer at her San Diego home.
In December, jurors voted 11-1 to convict John Michael Neuhart II of assault with intent to commit rape during a burglary and attempted forcible rape, prompting a judge to declare a mistrial.
Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Tag told a jury that Neuhart went with the alleged victim to her Valencia Park home in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2016, after a night of drinking downtown, entered her house and "ripped her clothes off and tried to rape her."
The prosecutor said the woman - who had worked under Neuhart's command in a helicopter squadron in Guam - respected the defendant but told him that night that she wasn't interested in having sex with him.
"This is about a man taking what he wants," Tag told the jury. "To the defendant, no didn't mean no. This was a game to him."
When Neuhart broke into the woman's home and attacked her, she screamed like she was being "murdered," prompting a neighbor to call 911, the prosecutor said.
Neuhart, 41, knew the woman was intoxicated and was not going to leave her home "until he gets what he wants," the prosecutor said.
In a video recorded by the defendant on his cell phone about 3 a.m., the woman is heard saying "no, stop," or "get off" at least 90 times in a 15-minute period.
Defense attorney Kerry Armstrong told the jury that the alleged victim was not telling the truth when she said she wasn't attracted to Neuhart. The woman gave the defendant mixed signals by kissing and hugging him during a limousine ride to her residence, Armstrong said.
Neuhart testified that he set up his cell phone outside the alleged victim's door so he would have evidence in case she claimed rape.
The defendant, a married Iraq War veteran and father of six, was relieved as commander of the helicopter squadron after his arrest. Neuhart, a Navy commander, was commanding officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 based at Anderson Air Force Base on Guam.
Neuhart - who is still in the Navy - faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of assault with intent to commit rape during a burglary.