Though his lawyer said the defendant did not remember the attack, an 18-year-old North Philadelphia man pleaded guilty yesterday to brutally beating and indecently assaulting a Temple University student Nov. 1 in a campus building.

Steven Holmes faces up to 97 years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 22 for the assault, and for escaping from a youth detention facility in October and threatening a witness in December.

Holmes, who is schizophrenic and told the court that he needs medication to prevent him from hearing voices and seeing visions, firmly answered, "Yes, ma'am," when Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Shreeves-Johns asked him a series of questions as part of the plea.

His 22-year-old victim sat quietly with her father and brother in the back of the courtroom during the short proceeding.

Outside court, public defender Tracy Frederick said Holmes had been off his antipsychotic medication and was high on PCP when he attacked.

"He doesn't remember any of it," she said.

Still, the high school dropout accepted responsibility and wrote a letter of apology to his victim, Frederick said.

Holmes, who lives on North 11th Street near Berks Street, a half-block from the Temple campus, attacked the woman in Anderson Hall about 7 p.m. as she was closing a classroom.

Wearing a mask of orange cloth with eye holes cut out, Holmes choked the woman unconscious and dragged her into a bathroom, Assistant District Attorney Bill Davis said. There he indecently assaulted her, smashed her onto the floor, and punched her face as she drifted in and out of consciousness.

Before fleeing, Holmes looted the woman's backpack and stole her cell phone, which he used that night to call a friend.

That friend became a witness, and Holmes acknowledged that he had called her from jail in December and threatened her.

Police said DNA from the crime scene matched Holmes'.

Contact staff writer Joseph Gambardello at 215-854-2153 or jgambardello@phillynews.com.