TRACY -- A former Army private charged with the rape and murder of a Tracy motel owner in July pleaded not guilty in court in Stockton on Monday.

Stephen Andrew Carreiro, 25, is accused of raping and killing Lalitaben Patel, 62, at the Hacienda Inn in Tracy on July 7. He is also accused of assaulting Patel's 84-year-old mother.

Patel's mother survived the attack, but Lalitaben Patel died from her injuries.

Patel was the third homicide victim in Tracy so far this year.

According to police reports, officers responding to the scene found Carreiro naked and that he resisted arrest.

Carreiro, originally from Virginia, is a former Army private who was administratively discharged in July 2010.

Carreiro is scheduled to return to superior court on Nov. 26 for a preliminary hearing of the evidence against him. A judge will decide if there is adequate evidence to take the case to trial.

Carreiro is being held without bail at the San Joaquin County Jail.

Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.



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