The man being accused of brutally attacking a woman in Hartford's Frog Hollow neighborhood faced a judge for the first time in the case Tuesday afternoon and at points emotions were charged.
Kenneth Maestas, 42, was arrested Sunday in the North End of Hartford and he's being charged with strangulation, sexual assault and keeping the woman against her will.
Hartford police said Maestas held the woman in an abandoned Broad Street home and brutally beat and raped her. Witnesses said she was found dangling from the third floor window in an attempt to jump to an adjacent balcony to escape her attacker.
She was brought to Hartford Hospital to be treated for her injuries, which included a swollen face. According to arrest papers, she was startled and traumatized upon the officers arrival.
Witnesses said her face was covered in blood. According to arrest papers, it is believed that Maestas punched her in the face before he forced the victim to the third floor where she was beaten and raped.
According to arrest papers, Maestas, who has a lengthy criminal history, left his cell phone at the crime scene, which lead police to arrest him in less than 24 hours.
"They explained to us, they found his cell at crime scene," said a woman who is related to the suspect's girlfriend, but wished not to be identified. "We thought it was a family member. It turned out not to be. We gave up his real name and location the next day. We called police, gave the keys they wanted and got him."
Maestas, who has been previously charged with statutory rape in Virginia in 1991, appeared at Superior Court in Hartford Tuesday.
The woman told Eyewitness News that Maestas has never harmed her or any of her relatives.
"I'm shocked, in disbelief and betrayed," she said. "I'm still in shock and can't believe it."
According to arrest papers, Maestas told investigators that he did not sexually assault anyone and said he was at his girlfriend's house on the night of the crime.
The attack also brings back memories for the family of Sonia Rivera. In September, Rivera was beaten beyond recognition and was left to die in an alley.
She died a few days later.
Her killer has still not been found, and now her family wants to know if Maestas is connected.
Hartford police said they are investigating that possibility and if there were other victims.
The judge raised Maestas' bond to $750,000.
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