A man accused of brutally beating and sexually assaulting a female hotel employee pleaded not guilty in court Friday.
Suspect Christopher Stevens, 44, was taken into custody on Dec. 24 in connection with the beating and sexual assault of a female hotel employee in the Midway District.
According to officials, Stevens is accused of sexually assaulting a housekeeping employee at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in the 3700 block of Sports Arena Blvd. on Dec. 21 sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Detectives say the 54-year-old hotel employee was attacked while cleaning an empty hotel room. As she was leaving the room she was confronted by Stevens, who allegedly forced her back inside.
She fought back but Stevens overpowered her, allegedly beating her in the face and sexually assaulting her.
Investigators said Stevens fled the scene on foot following the attack, leaving the injured woman behind inside the vacant hotel room. Once he left, the victim called police.
The woman was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Police were not able to immediately locate the suspect and they released a sketch to aid in their search. Stevens was described as a black male in his 40s with a tall and muscular build and short, afro-style haircut. Police said Stevens is an English speaker, but also speaks some Spanish and may have had a fresh scratch on his face.
The day after the attack, the hotel's director of operations, Viridiana Davila, told NBC 7 she couldn't disclose any details regarding the assault. She said the victim was still recovering at the hospital.
Davila said she had spoken with other employees about the incident, going over important safety tips. Employees told NBC 7 they were upset because nothing like this had ever happened at the hotel.
On Monday, SDPD Crime Lab personnel made a positive identification of Stevens as the suspect in this assault based on DNA evidence collected at the crime scene.
Police said that evidence was linked to evidence collected from another reported sexual assault that happened at Hourglass Park near Mira Mesa on Oct. 9. Police are linking Stevens to that crime as well.
Stevens was arrested without incident at his hotel room at the Vagabond Inn in Mission Valley. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail on multiple charges including sexual assault, attempted murder and false imprisonment.
Stevens appeared in court Friday, pleading not guilty to the charges. He's currently being held on $3 million bail, with an exposure of 256 years to life.
According to investigators, Stevens is facing a total of seven charges. Six of those charges deal directly with the alleged assault on the hotel housekeeper, including three counts of forcible rape.
Stevens’ seventh charge is for an alleged assault on another victim that occurred on Dec. 17 -- just days before the violent sexual assault at the Wyndham Garden Hotel.
He's due back in court on Jan. 9 and then again on Jan. 11 for his preliminary hearing.