FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks man accused of using a hammer to repeatedly hit a cab driver in the face is being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center without bail.

Robert Charles Evans, 21, was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery. Each charge is a class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Evans called a cab company in the early hours Thursday morning, calling for a particular cab driver, who was identified only by his initials in charging documents.

The cab driver told Fairbanks police that Evans, sitting in the front seat, asked for a ride to the McGrath Road area but soon began to rub his leg and propositioned the driver for sex.

The cab driver declined the invitation while driving but drove to his Front Street home about 5 a.m. where he and Evans had sex for more than an hour, documents stated

Eventually, Evans told the man to close his eyes and began to reach for something, according to court documents

At that point, everything “went bright,” and he felt Evans hit him in the head multiple times, according to charging documents.

“He did hit me, I counted approximately eight times, with a hammer, using the claw side of the hammer,” the victim told Magistrate Nikole Schick at arraignments Friday afternoon.

The left side of the man’s face was badly swollen. He had a black eye and a metal splint on his left thumb.

While refusing to set bail, Schick said she has “significant concerns about safety to the public” if Evans were released.

Court documents allege that after Evans assaulted the man, Evans threatened to kill him if he screamed. Evans then asked for the man’s wallet. There was only about $29 in the wallet at the time, and Evans became upset at how little money was in there.

He again threatened to kill the driver if the driver did not give him more money and tried to get him to break into neighboring apartments to get Evans more cash, according to charging documents.

Evans reportedly was drinking alcohol during the encounter, and after cleaning up the scene, appeared to go to sleep, at which point the victim snuck out of the apartment and ran to another building in the complex where a co-worker saw him and called police shortly before 8 a.m.

The cab driver told police he plans to move because he is afraid Evans will return to kill him.

Evans admitted to police he beat the man and struck him with a hammer, but he claimed the cab driver was trying to rape him, according to charging documents.

The cab driver told police he did not recognize Evans from a previous encounter, but they might have met before.

Several of Evans’ relatives attended Friday’s arraignment. They said they will attempt to hire an attorney for him.

Evans has had several misdemeanor run-ins with the law, mostly for underage drinking. Last year, he also pleaded guilty to criminal mischief. He has no felony record in Alaska.

Fairbanks police initially forwarded a charge of attempted murder to prosecutors.

District Attorney Mike Gray said the first-degree assault charge was filed because of the difficulty in proving Evans had the intent to kill the victim.

However, he said an attempted murder charge still might be sought when the case goes before a grand jury for indictment.

Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.