A U.S. Navy commander accused of trying to rape a colleague is fighting to suppress evidence that might be proof of the crime because he was forced to give his cell phone passcode to retrieve the video.
According to a CNS report, Iraq War veteran John Michael Neuhart II, 39, was charged with assault with intent to commit rape after a September incident in which police saw a man fleeing the scene into a canyon.
It was a neighbor, not the alleged victim, that called police after hearing screams. The neighbor reportedly shouted up to the woman's window asking if she was OK. When she said no, the neighbor called 911, yelling into the home that he was doing so.
San Diago police detectives asked to see Neuhart's phone but he refused. They pressed him further and ultimately he relented. Once Neuhart unlocked the phone, detectives found 41-minutes of video, some of which reveals a portion of the alleged incident as well as searches for things like "drunk" "sex" "Uber" "Lyft" "rape" and "fantasy."
The woman explained that she ran into the accused at an event at a downtown hotel. Neuhart reportedly then went home with the woman.
"When they got to the residence, the suspect entered the house with the victim," Lt. Paul Phillips of the San Diego Police Department said. "The suspect immediately became forceful with her and attempted to sexually assault her. She was able to fight him off and ... began screaming very loudly."
Neuhart was in San Diego at the time of the incident for a training, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Tag told CNS.
While Neuhart's attorney is attempting to suppress the cell phone information, Tag said she is confident she can convict Neuhart without it. If he's convicted he faces up to life in prison.