Arrest in suitcase murder

POSTED: 05:57 PM PDT Oct 24, 2012 
RIVERSIDE, Calif -

An ex-con accused of murdering a Canyon Lake drug counselor
he was dating and stuffing her body in a suitcase left in a motel room was
captured in Mexico and returned to the United States, authorities said today.
      Joseph David Dorsey, 28, of Lake Elsinore was arrested around 10 p.m.
Tuesday in Playas de Rosarito by Mexican law enforcement officials, with the
assistance of the FBI. He was transported to the border and handed over to
Riverside County sheriff's investigators.
      According to District Attorney's Office spokesman John Hall, arraignment
is tentatively set for Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in
Murrieta.
      Dorsey had been sought since authorities discovered the body of his
girlfriend, 47-year-old Christine Stewart, in a Poway Best Western motel room
on Aug. 8. She was reported missing on Aug. 6, according to sheriff's
officials.
      Dorsey, who has two prior felony strikes against him, was charged on
Aug. 10 with murder, and a Riverside County Superior Court judge signed a
warrant for the parolee's arrest. A federal warrant was also issued alleging
unlawful flight from the country to avoid arrest.
      Stewart, who worked as a behavioral health specialist at a drug rehab
center, had been dating Dorsey for an unspecified period before her death,
according to the District Attorney's Office.
      The remains of the 5-foot-2, 100-pound Canyon Lake woman were located in
a suitcase abandoned in a room that Dorsey had rented three days earlier.
Employees took possession of the defendant's personal effects when he failed to
check out, leading to the discovery of the remains, prosecutors said.
      Court records show that the parolee was convicted in 2006 of assault and
battery on a peace officer, for which he was sentenced to three years in
prison.
      Dorsey was also convicted in June of attempted burglary. According to
records, the defendant originally was charged with burglary and grand theft in
that case, but under a plea agreement, the two felony charges were dropped and replaced with the lesser count, resulting in a one-year prison sentence. With credit for time served in jail and additional state credit to minimize prison
overcrowding, Dorsey was allowed to go free.