A man accused of brutally beating and sexually assaulting a Midway District hotel housekeeper will stand trial on seven felony charges, including three counts of rape by force, a judge ruled on Tuesday.
According to investigators, suspect Christopher Stevens, 44, allegedly beat and sexually assaulted a female housekeeping employee at the Wyndham Garden Hotel on Sports Arena Boulevard on December 21, 2012.
Detectives say Stevens attacked the 54-year-old woman while she was cleaning an empty hotel room, forcing her back inside as she was exiting.
The victim fought back, but Stevens overpowered her, allegedly striking her in the face and raping her inside the room. Stevens fled the scene on foot following the attack. Once he left, the injured woman called police to report the crime.
Three days later, on Dec. 24, Stevens was arrested at his hotel room at the Vagabond Inn in Mission Valley in connection with the assault.
On Dec. 28, he pleaded not guilty in court.
At a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, a judge ordered that Stevens must now stand trial in this case. A trial date has been tentatively set for May 15. If convicted on all charges, Stevens faces up to 450 years in prison.
During Tuesday’s preliminary trial the hotel housekeeper took the stand, detailing the alleged violent assault and multiple rapes she endured on Dec. 21.
The victim testified that Stevens came into the empty room, claiming it was his room, and told her to clean the bathroom. He then told her to close the curtains before throwing her on the bed.
The housekeeper said Stevens hit her in the head and face, which rendered her unconscious, before allegedly raping her four times. He covered her face with a pillow during the sexual assaults and may have tried to tie one of her legs to the bed, she testified.
The victim said she thought he was going kill her.
After the attack, SDPD Crime Lab personnel positively identified Stevens as the suspect based on DNA evidence collected at the crime scene.
Police said that evidence was also linked to evidence collected from another reported sexual assault that happened at Hourglass Park near Mira Mesa on Oct. 9. Stevens was arrested earlier for that crime too, but charges were not filed against him and he was eventually released.
When Stevens was charged in the housekeeper's assault on Dec. 24, one of his charges included a misdemeanor for the alleged assault of yet another victim that occurred on Dec. 17 -- just days before the violent sexual assault at the Wyndham Garden Hotel. On Tuesday, that misdemeanor charge was dismissed.
Stevens is scheduled to appear in court again on May 10 for a readiness hearing.