Man accused in downtown suitcase murder pleads not guilty - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused in downtown suitcase murder pleads not guilty

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man accused of beating and strangling a female co- worker, then stuffing her body into a suitcase that was thrown out with the trash at a downtown San Diego hotel, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.

Joshua Matthew Palmer, 33, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted in the death of 21-year-old Shauna Haynes.

Judge David Szumowski ordered the defendant held on $2 million bail.

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Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle told the judge that Palmer is accused of beating and strangling Haynes after the two returned to the Chadwick Hotel after a night out.

The prosecutor alleged that Palmer - a platonic friend of the victim who also worked with her at the Spaghetti Factory restaurant - stuffed Haynes' body into a suitcase and threw it out with the garbage.

Palmer - who was staying at the hotel - then made efforts to conceal the crime by sending false text messages to family and friends and cleaning up the crime scene, Doyle alleged.

Last Wednesday morning, a guest at the hotel in the 600 block of A Street found the suitcase containing the San Diego woman's body near a row of trash cans alongside a parking area at the rear of the three-story building, Lt. Ray Valentin said.

RELATED: Memorial for murder victim found in suitcase

Noticing what appeared to be hair protruding from a zipper on the case, the man made an emergency call. Patrol officers confirmed the death, then called in a homicide team. Palmer was arrested two days later.

A motive for the crime was not disclosed.

Palmer will be back in court April 28 for a status conference and June 13 for a preliminary hearing.
 

JOSHUA PALMER CRIMINAL COMPLAINT (PDF FILE)

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