San Diego man sentenced to life in prison for killing woman, stuffing body in suitcase

Posted at 8:38 AM, Jun 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 15:32:45-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who beat, raped and strangled a female friend after watching her have sex with another man in his downtown San Diego apartment, then stuffed her body in a suitcase and put it out with the trash, was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Joshua Matthew Palmer, 34, was convicted in April of first-degree murder and murder during a rape, sodomy and sexual penetration in the April 5, 2016, death of 21-year-old Shauna Haynes.

Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle told a jury that Palmer videotaped himself doing "unspeakable things" to Haynes' body after he killed her in his room at the Chadwick Hotel.

Palmer then stuffed the victim's body into a suitcase and threw it in a hotel trash bin, Doyle said.

The prosecutor said Palmer went out the night of April 4, 2016, and met a woman, Chelsea Shea, who intended to have sex with him back in his room, but the defendant was unable to get aroused.

Haynes and a man she had met that night, Anthony Kern, arrived at Palmer's room and started having sex, and Shea eventually joined in, the prosecutor said. At some point, Palmer sent Haynes a text saying, "I can't watch you have sex with another man."

Doyle said Palmer got upset and kicked Kern and Shea out, but Haynes -- who worked with Palmer at a downtown restaurant and had a platonic relationship with the defendant -- stayed in the room.

The prosecutor said Palmer went out later on April 5, 2016, telling friends how proud he was of the "foursome" he was in earlier.

The trash bin containing the victim's body was never picked up and two men saw the suitcase with what they thought were body parts sticking out and called 911.

Before he was sentenced, Palmer apologized for his actions but denied raping Haynes, saying he tried to revive her once she became unconscious.

"I'm sorry to everyone who lost Shauna," the defendant said. "She was a beautiful woman."

Palmer said he panicked when Haynes died and made "horrible, cowardly and disgraceful mistakes" by trying to get rid of her body.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber told the defendant she was disappointed that, despite the evidence, he failed to show remorse for the murder.

"You still want to blame everybody else except yourself," the judge told Palmer.

Haynes' older sister, Jeannette, said her family has suffered a great loss.

"Two years later, and it still doesn't feel real," Jeannette Haynes told the judge.

Deputy Public Defender Katie Belisle told the jury that Palmer and Haynes met at the Spaghetti Factory downtown and he fell in love with her.

Belisle said Palmer was "humiliated" when Haynes had sex with a random man she had just met.

The defense attorney said Haynes had been having sex with other men and there was no evidence to prove when she suffered injuries to her vaginal and anal areas.