Man charged with sexually assaulting motel clerk appointed public defender

Aeron Etheridge (WAVY/Larry Carney)

ELIZABETH, N.C. (WAVY) — An Elizabeth City man accused of raping a 17-year-old Ecnolodge employee appeared in a North Carolina court. Twenty-year-old Aeron Etheridge arrived at court in Elizabeth city in a white van with a few other prisoners.

10 On Your Side asked him about the accusations as he was walking into court. He said, “F*** off.”

WAVY then asked, if he raped the employee  “Hell, no,” he replied.

He remains in jail on a $300,000 bond, and had his first appearance on sex offense second degree and first degree kidnapping for holding the 17-year-old EconoLodge motel clerk against her will.

Elizabeth City Police said the clerk was tricked by Etheridge by bringing toiletries to his room.

“So, she just left the soap on the towel, where the towel was laying on the bed, and then turned to walk back to her clerk’s desk, but this time Mr. Etheridge jumped out from behind and closed the door and locked the door, tied her hands, and then he began to assault and rape her,” said police.

WAVY asked Etheridge to tell us what happened, “There’s a guy named [name withheld]. He raped her,” he said.

10 On Your Side asked Sgt. Felton about that name, and he said Etheridge isn’t telling the truth,

That’s not true. No, not true at all,” said Sgt. Felton. “We didn’t talk to the immediate family because of all the evidence at the hotel, the eyewitnesses, the video surveillance, all point to one person, Mr. Aeron Etheridge.”

After the attack, according to police, Etheridge then left the motel and walked to his grandmother’s house at least five miles away. It’s unsure if he got a ride part of the way.

Etheridge’s grandmother tells WAVY when he showed up Monday night, she told him to sleep on the sofa, and she would bring him back to the motel Tuesday morning.

She was unaware of the attack he’s accused of, and she drove him back to the motel Tuesday morning to extend his stay. Police were called to the motel again, and arrested Etheridge.

WAVY said to Etheridge, “Mr. Etheridge the reason why you were arrested was the victim accused you.” He responded, “I say get the f*** out of my face.”

His attorneys also told him not to comment.

In court Thursday, Etheridge received a court appointed attorney, Jay Hollingsworth, who advised his client not to talk.

Etheridge remains in jail, and will be back in court on Jan. 28 for a probable cause hearing.

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