Less than an hour after a Virginia woman checked into a D.C. motel Friday evening, a man on a bicycle approached her room, opened the door and then brutally stabbed her 30 times with a kitchen knife, according to court documents.
George Sydnor, 43, of no fixed address, has been charged with first-degree murder while armed in the stabbing death of Christy Bautista, 31, of Harrisonburg, Virginia. A Facebook profile for Bautista indicates she is originally from Arlington, Virginia. Family members told NBC Washington Bautista was visiting D.C. to attend a concert over the weekend.
Sydnor was ordered held without bond following an appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Monday. He has pleaded not guilty.
There’s no indication Sydnor knew Bautista.
Prosecutors said Bautista’s lifeless body was discovered by D.C. police inside Room 116 of the Ivy City Hotel on New York Avenue in Northeast D.C. after they were called to the hotel to check on a 911 call. A passerby had called police after seeing a woman screaming for help in the doorway of the motel room and then being pulled back inside, according to the documents.
When police arrived and used a master key from the front desk to enter, Sydnor was still inside the room, attempting to light a cigarette. He had cuts on his hands, and there were long strands of dark hair stuck to the bloody cuts on his hands, according to the documents. A broken-off bloody Santoku kitchen knife was lying on the bed.
Police used footage from several CCTV cameras to piece together the moments leading up to the stabbing. The video footage indicated Bautista checked in to the hotel at 5:52 p.m. After checking in, she moved her gray Honda Civic directly in front of Room 116, where she was staying.
It’s not until 6:44 p.m. — just under an hour after Bautista checked in — that the cameras captured Sydnor riding a red bicycle slowly around the parking lot “and looking around, observing things on the property,” according to the documents.
A minute later, Sydnor got off his bike and appeared to be listening at the door to Bautista’s room. The cameras showed he leaned back and then stepped inside.
Some of the cameras picked up sounds of a struggle. “There appears to be several thuds, as well as possibly the sound of someone attempting to open the door,” the documents stated. Bautista can be heard yelling “Help! Help!” followed by the sound of the door slamming, which appears to corroborate what the 911 caller told the dispatcher.
When police arrested Sydnor, he told officers his hand got chopped with a knife but said he wouldn’t answer any other questions without an attorney, according to the documents.
The medical examiner said Bautista was stabbed 30 times — mostly in the back — and with such force that some of her ribs were broken.
At the time of the stabbing, Sydnor was wanted for skipping out on a D.C. Superior Court date related to an armed robbery last fall.
Sydnor had pleaded guilty late last year to attempted armed robbery after court documents say he pulled a gun on a woman and stole her phone and car keys. However, the terms of the plea deal indicate prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office would have only sought a suspended sentence, and Sydnor was ordered released by a D.C. judge in early January, ahead of his formal sentencing.
A week after being released, he failed to show up to have a monitor put on his ankle, and a bench warrant was issued.
Sydnor also has a warrant out of Prince George County’s for failure to appear on a theft charge.
Appearing in D.C. Superior Court on Monday, Sydnor’s attorney said Sydnor failed to appear in the D.C. case because he was “dealing with the Maryland matter.” He said Sydnor planned to surrender later but was then hospitalized with COVID-19.