SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man accused of strangling a female acquaintance after watching her have sex with two other people, then stuffing her body into a suitcase and putting it out with the trash, pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder charges that could lead to the death penalty if he's convicted.
Joshua Matthew Palmer, 32, is charged with murder and special circumstance allegations of murder during a rape, murder during sodomy and murder during a rape by an instrument.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether Palmer will face death or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted in the death of 21-year-old Shauna Haynes.
No trial has been set. A status conference is scheduled for Nov. 9.
A witness, Chelsea Shea, testified this month at a preliminary hearing that she had drinks with Palmer at a bar on April 4 and agreed to go back to his room at the Chadwick Hotel on A Street. She and Palmer were having sex when Haynes arrived with a man named Anthony Kern, Shea said.
The witness testified that she, Kern and Haynes eventually had sex together, but Palmer just "stood there,'' then ``told us to leave.''
Shea testified that she left with Kern and asked Haynes if she wanted to come along, but Haynes said she wanted to stay with Palmer.
A few hours after the early morning sexual encounter, Palmer called 911, saying his girlfriend was missing, a detective testified. When contacted, Palmer had red knuckles on both his hands, according to the detective.
Police got a search warrant and seized video files from Palmer's cell phone, showing an unconscious Haynes.
In another clip, Palmer is heard to say, "I'm sorry I love you, but I can't watch you having sex with somebody else. God I'm sorry.''
Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle alleged that Palmer -- who worked with Haynes at the Spaghetti Factory restaurant -- stuffed her body into a suitcase and threw it out with the garbage.
The morning of April 6, a guest at the hotel in the 600 block of A Street found the suitcase containing the victim's body near a row of trash cans alongside a parking area at the rear of the three-story building.
Palmer was arrested two days later.
The San Diego Police Department has launched an internal investigation into a program intended to reward officers for making drug arrests.
Police were involved a pursuit late Saturday that ended with a deadly officer-involved shooting in Escondido.
Two people died early Sunday morning after a high-speed chase ended in a head-on crash in North County.
A man was shot and killed by police at an officer- involved shooting in Escondido, a sheriff's lieutenant said Sunday.
An approaching winter storm is poised to open an "atmospheric river" of subtropical rain clouds on Southern California this week, but the San Diego area is expected to see just a fraction of that moisture, forecasters said Sunday.
A man threw rocks at vehicles on Interstate 5 near Imperial Beach Sunday, and threatened police with a pickaxe as he ran into a riverbed.
San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins will make history Wednesday when she becomes the first woman and first lesbian to hold the California Senate's top job.
A 16-year-old boy was allegedly drunk when he crashed his car into a stopped vehicle, pinning a motorist between two bumpers, police said Sunday.
A 27-year-old man suffered fatal injuries as the result of a "punching game'' inside of a bar Saturday morning in the Gaslamp
neighborhood of San Diego.
A large plume of smoke filled the sky in Miramar on Saturday morning after a concrete supply building went up in flames.