Suitcase murder trial: Jury reaches verdict in death of Shauna Haynes

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego man who beat, raped and strangled a female friend after watching her have sex with another couple, then stuffed her body in a suitcase and put it out with the trash, was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder and murder during a rape, sodomy and sexual penetration.

A jury deliberated more than two days before finding Joshua Matthew Palmer guilty in the death of 21-year-old Shauna Haynes.

The victim's mother and sister sobbed as the verdicts were read.

"They very much miss Shauna Haynes, and I think they'd like to put this part of the process behind them," Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle said of the family.

Palmer, 34, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on June 22.

In his opening statement, Doyle said Palmer videotaped himself doing "unspeakable things" to Shauna Haynes' body after he killed her at the Chadwick Hotel in San Diego on April 5, 2016.

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

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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 told the jury. 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.

Doyle said Palmer threw all of Haynes' belongings away and his DNA was found on her private areas.

Palmer lied to police after the crime, but it was "impossible to cover up," the prosecutor said.

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, Doyle said.

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.

Despite his small, one-room hotel room, Haynes wanted to move in with the defendant, Belisle said.

Belisle said Palmer was "humiliated" when Haynes said "He can't get it up!" as she had sex with a random man she had just met.

"All he (Palmer) could do was sit there and watch," Belisle told the jury. "He was heartbroken."

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.

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