A Lake Elsinore man charged with the murder of a Canyon Lake woman made his first court appearance in the case where a judge set his bail at $5 million, according to court documents.
Joseph David Dorsey, 39, has been charged by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Dorsey is charged with the murder of Christine Stewart, 47, who was reported missing on Aug. 6, 2012.
At his arraignment today at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office requested that Dorsey’s bail be set at $5 million.
Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton agreed and set that bail amount for Dorsey.
Dorsey’s arraignment was postponed one week, to 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 2, 2012, at the request of the Public Defender’s Office.
If convicted as now charged, Dorsey faces a potential sentence of 57 years to life in prison.
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.
Inside the suitcase, investigators found the body of Stewart, who was about 5 feet, 2 inches tall.
It is believed that Dorsey and Stewart were in a dating relationship at the time of the murder and that he killed her at his Lake Elsinore apartment before heading to Poway.
The afternoon of Oct. 23, 2012, Dorsey, who is an American citizen, was arrested by Mexican law enforcement officials in Playas de Rosarito in Mexico. Later that evening, he was turned over to an FBI agent and a member of the Inland Regional Apprehension Team at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Burke Strunsky of the Homicide Unit.