MURRIETA (CBSLA.com) — A judge on Friday ordered a Lake Elsinore man to stand trial for the 2012 murder of a woman whose body was found inside a suitcase.
Joseph David Dorsey, 28, is charged with one count of murder and allegations including two prison priors and a strike prior. If convicted as now charged, Dorsey is facing 57 years to life in prison.
After hearing testimony at a preliminary hearing on Friday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton ordered Dorsey to stand trial for murder.
Dorsey is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 15 for arraignment.
Dorsey is charged with the August 2012 murder of Christine Stewart, 47, of Canyon Lake who was reported missing on Aug. 6, 2012. Stewart worked as a behavioral health specialist at a county drug rehabilitation facility in Hemet.
Dorsey and Stewart were in a dating relationship at the time of her disappearance and murder.
On Aug. 8, 2012, Riverside County sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators received information that three days earlier Dorsey checked into a room at the Best Western on Poway Road in the city of Poway in San Diego County.
Dorsey never checked out so motel employees took possession of property he left behind in the room, including a large rolling suitcase approximately 3 feet long and 18 inches wide and deep.
Homicide investigators found the body of Stewart, who was about 5 feet, 2 inches tall, inside the suitcase.
After the murder, which is alleged to have happened at Dorsey’s Lake Elsinore apartment, Dorsey fled the country and was arrested on Oct. 23, 2012, in the area of Rosarito, Mexico.