SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – The family and friends of a woman stabbed to death allegedly by her estranged husband in Santa Clarita Thursday morning are mourning, and now one Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy is outraged that the Los Angeles County District Attorney did not file special enhancements in the case.
Michelle Dorsey, who was stabbed to death at a Santa Clarita home — while two of her three children were also in the house — identified her estranged husband, 43-year-old James Matthew Dorsey, as her killer just before dying, authorities said.READ MORE: Drive-thru Food Giveaway Helps Hundreds Of Families In Costa Mesa
Dorsey was captured later that night after a more than three-hour standoff with authorities.
The DA’s office did not file the special enhancements, which would allow Dorsey to be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted on all charges. If convicted, Dorsey will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
“It was devastation. We lost an amazing person and we can’t get her back,” said Danielle Quemuel, the victim’s friend.
Danielle Quemuel shared 30 years of friendship with Michelle Dorsey and is heartbroken over her loss. Quemuel says the couple was going through a very bad divorce.
“That man, he knew what he was doing. He threatened before, he scared her before,” she said.
On Monday, the LA County District Attorney’s office filed five charges against James Dorsey: murder, attempted kidnapping, First-degree burglary, fleeing police, and resisting arrest.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, at around 5:10 a.m. deputies responded to a home in the 22800 block of Fir Court on a report that a man had stabbed a woman.
They arrived to find a woman with stab wounds. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she died, the sheriff’s department said.
There were two children in the home at the time. They were asleep, did not witness the slaying and were not hurt, the sheriff’s department said. The third child was spending the night at a friend’s house.
Just before dying, Michelle Dorsey told authorities that James Dorsey was her killer.
“She made what we call a dying declaration, and identified her estranged husband as the person who had gone into the house and attacked her and stabbed her,” LASD Lt. Barry Hall told reporters.
James is a resident of Washington state. He drove down from Washington state on Wednesday, Hall said.READ MORE: Pine Fire Near Palmdale Scorches 442 Acres, 79% Contained
Hall, a homicide investigator, is outraged that prosecutors didn’t include sentencing enhancements, including lying in wait and murder committed in the course of a kidnapping. Lt. Hall said they had evidence to prove it.
“The investigators that are handling it recovered zip ties and duct tape and clearly, those items were meant to perform a kidnapping then murder,” said Hall.
CBSLA reached out to District Attorney George Gascon’s office for comment. They said the charges they filed against Dorsey are consistent with their policy.
After the killing, Dorsey allegedly fled the house in the victim’s vehicle, a white four-door 2013 Chevrolet Malibu with California license plate No. 7ALF904, the sheriff’s department said. Authorities were unsure if he was traveling in the Malibu or the 2008 Saturn SUV which he had driven down from Washington state. Both vehicles were missing.
At around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies located Dorsey in the Malibu in the rural northern L.A. County community of Neenach, located on the border with Kern County, about 15 miles east of Gorman. He refused to exit the car and a standoff ensued.
During the standoff, he thrashed around in the car and waved what appeared to be a knife. At one point he threw something outside the car. His cell phone was found in a different location, which made negotiating with him difficult, the sheriff’s department said.
Crisis negotiators were called in and Dorsey finally surrendered just after 10 p.m.
Dorsey filed a restraining order against her estranged husband in L.A. County Superior Court in August of 2019. He moved to Washington state shortly after that.
“We’re all shocked, I don’t think any of us have even began to try to process this because we don’t understand, we don’t understand how somebody could do that,” Michelle’s longtime friend Danielle Quemuel told CBSLA Friday.
Michelle Dorsey’s brother is a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy, CBSLA learned.
“It’s just hard to fathom in our community, I don’t know what to say,” Blake Pocquette, a neighbor, told CBSLA.
“We are just devastated for the family,” Pocquette added.MORE NEWS: $25 Million Challenge Grant Made For Wildlife Crossing In Agoura Hills
The children, meanwhile, would be released to either family members or the California Department of Health and Human Services, officials said. If you would like to donate to the family’s GoFundMe page, click here.