Police: Sexual assault suspect left cell phone at crime scene

Christopher James Stuart. Credit: Newport News Police Department.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News police say they are fortunate to have a man who is accused of breaking into a home and sexually assaulting a woman off the streets

“It was less than 24 hours and he is in jail with very significant charges,” said Newport News Police spokesman Lou Thurston.

Police say it was just after 1 a.m. on Monday when 19-year-old Christopher Stuart broke into a home on the 1100 block of 29th Street.

Court documents say the 19-year-old victim was asleep on the downstairs couch. She said she woke up and saw Stuart going through her book bag.

“It’s very scary and it had to be tremendously scary for her,” Thurston said.

According to court paperwork, Stuart put his hand over the victim’s mouth.

“She was probably asleep or half asleep, and she wakes up to this stranger who starts to punch her in the face and assault her,” Thurston added.

The victim told police Stuart then pulled down her pants and attempted to rape her. She was able to break free and run upstairs, where her two younger twin brothers were sleeping.

Police believe Stuart then held onto the door and wouldn’t let them out. He eventually jumped though a bathroom window and ran away.

“Together working as a team we put a case together and in less than 24 hours they had the suspect in custody,” Thurston added.

What helped is what he left behind. Court documents say he dropped his cell phone on the way out. Police traced the phone right to Stuar,t and he was positively identified by the victims.

“You take a big sigh, because had he still been on the loose, we would have had a whole community who was extremely scared and worried,” Thurston said.

Thurston says there is no indication that the victim and suspect knew each other.

Stuart was arraigned on the charges Thursday morning. He will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on January 8.

He is being held in jail without bond, and declined 10 On Your Side’s request for an on-camera interview.