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Jury selection begins in San Diego suitcase murder case

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Posted at 9:19 AM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 12:19:59-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Potential jurors will be in court Monday to fill out questionnaires in preparation for the murder trial of a man charged with killing his co-worker and stuffing her body in a suitcase after he watched her have sex with two other people.

Joshua Matthew Palmer, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 21-year-old Shauna Haynes, whose body was discovered in the suitcase in April 2016 outside the downtown Chadwick Hotel.

Prosecutors say Palmer became jealous after watching Haynes engage in a threesome with another man and a woman, later strangling Haynes, stuffing her body in a suitcase and putting it out with the trash.

Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty in the case, but Palmer faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

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A witness, Chelsea Shea, testified at a preliminary hearing last year that she had drinks with Palmer at a bar on April 4, 2016, 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.