Man accused in rape to stand trial

Christopher Stevens accused in Dec. 21 incident

SAN DIEGO - An ex-con accused of repeatedly raping and beating a housekeeper, who was attacked as she cleaned a room at a Midway District hotel, must stand trial on seven felony charges, including forcible rape and rape by a foreign object, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Christopher R. Stevens, who has prior convictions for auto theft, burglary and robbery dating back to 1988, faces up to 450 years to life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Trisha Amador.

The victim -- who was 54 at the time -- testified that Stevens attacked her about 11:45 a.m. last Dec. 21 as she cleaned a room at the Wyndham Garden Hotel on Sports Arena Boulevard.

The witness said the 44-year-old defendant came into the room, said it was his, and told her to clean the bathroom.

"I said, 'It's already clean,'" she testified. "He said, 'Close the curtains.' I thought he was going to harm me. He came toward me and threw me on the bed."

The maid said Stevens hit her in the head and face, knocking her unconscious.

"When I woke up, he was raping me," the housekeeper testified.

She said Stevens threw her on the floor and raped her again. After that, Stevens put her back on the bed and raped her yet again, she testified.

At one point, Stevens got up to answer the door, then returned to the bed and raped her a fourth time, she testified.

She said the defendant covered her face with a pillow during the rapes and she thought he tried to tie one of her legs to the bed.

Stevens threatened her when she screamed at the beginning of the attack, she said.

"I was crying, God help me. I thought he was going to kill me," she testified.

The witness said that when Stevens finished his assault, he closed the door and left.

He was arrested three days later on Christmas Eve. The victim spent a week in the hospital.

San Diego police Crime Laboratory personnel positively identified Stevens as the suspect from evidence collected in the room, including a shirt and empty Tecate beer can, according to court testimony.

The DNA evidence was also linked to evidence collected from a reported sexual assault at Hourglass Field Community Park on Oct. 9, authorities said. In that case, Stevens was arrested four days after the assault but was released when prosecutors did not file charges.

Amador would not comment on that case, citing an ongoing investigation.

Judge Frederic Link ruled that enough evidence was presented for Stevens to proceed to trial on the rape charges, plus assault and making criminal threats. Stevens also faces allegations that he caused great bodily injury to the victim.

Link dismissed a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment for an alleged attack on a second person four days before the hotel assault.

Stevens will be back in court May 10 for a readiness conference. Trial was tentatively set for May 15.

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