SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who allegedly flung scalding water at a barista in a downtown San Diego coffee shop, leaving her with serious burns on her upper body, pleaded not guilty Monday to a misdemeanor battery charge.
Dennis Christopher Lee, 58, entered the Starbucks in Horton Plaza shortly after 5:30 a.m. last Thursday and asked the victim for a cup of hot water, which the business provides free of charge, according to San Diego police.
The employee, a woman in her mid-20s, complied with Lee's request, after which he walked over to a condiment table and began taking items, SDPD Officer Frank Cali said. The clerk then approached Lee and asked him not to use the condiments, telling him they were for paying customers only.
At that point, Lee became upset and allegedly flung the hot water at the woman, Cali said. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of possible second-degree burns to her neck and chest.
Lee -- held on $8,000 bail -- will be back in court Thursday for a readiness conference. Trial was set for July 14.
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