Man who killed friend, stuffed her corpse in suitcase gets life in prison

SAN DIEGO - The 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 sentenced Friday.

Joshua Matthew Palmer, 34, was convicted in April of first-degree murder and murder during a rape, sodomy and sexual penetration.

Judge Joan Weber sentenced Palmer to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

“You want to blame everyone else except yourself. That is very troubling to me,” Weber said.

Shauna Haynes' sister gives an emotional statement during sentencing on June 22, 2018.

Family members of Shauna Haynes gave emotional impact statements during the sentencing.

“I can’t imagine how scared [she] must have been. The thought of [her] keeps me up at night. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about [her],” the victim’s sister told the judge.

“Shauna will never be a mother. You took that away from her. I’ll never be a grandmother to Shauna’s children. You took that away from me,” Shauna’s adopted mother told Palmer during sentencing. "We will never see her laugh or cry after an experience... Shauna loved being loved and we loved loving her."

Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle told a jury that Palmer videotaped himself doing "unspeakable things" to Haynes' body after he killed her at the Chadwick Hotel in San Diego on April 5, 2016.

Palmer then stuffed the 21-year-old'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 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.

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.

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 said "He can't get it up!" as she 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.

Palmer spoke during the sentencing.

"I am sorry for the loss of Shauna. I’m sorry for everyone who lost Shauna. I gave her a piece of my heart and she took it with her."

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

“I did not kill Shauna in a heat of passion and have sex after she was deceased," Palmer 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.

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