Accused Killer Pleads Not Guilty After Arrest in Mexico

By Jesse B. Gill

Posted November 5, 2012 in Web Only
A man appeared in court Friday to enter a plea in a case that investigators say began in Lake Elsinore before stretching to Poway and later, Mexico. That man is Joseph David Dorsey and he pleaded not guilty to killing his girlfriend and stuffing her body into a suitcase.

Joseph David Dorsey

Dorsey, 28, is no stranger to the inside of a court room. Not including his recent arrest (which we’ll detail in moment), he was arrested no fewer than five times in Riverside County since 2005. Those arrests led to convictions of DUI, domestic battery, attempted burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, battery of a police officer and assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer or firefighter.
He was sentenced to a year in prison after his latest conviction (in June, of attempted burglary). But thanks to time he’d already served in jail and a state credit to reduce overcrowding in prisons, he was set free.

Less than two months later, Christine Osborn-Stewart was reported missing.

Christine Osborn-Stewart

She was a 47-year-old social worker for Riverside County, helping women with drug, alcohol and behavioral problems. Prosecutors claim she and Dorsey were dating.

The last time anyone saw her alive was on Aug. 4 in her home city of Canyon Lake. Dorsey was with her, according to Riverside County sheriff’s officials. When she didn’t show up for work on Aug. 6, she was reported missing.

Employees of a Best Western hotel in Poway made a strange discovery on Aug. 8 when they checked a room that Dorsey checked into about the time that Osborn-Stewart went missing, according to prosecutors. By the time those employees entered the room, Dorsey was long gone but he never checked out so the staffers went in to see what he left behind.

Among the things in the room was a 3-foot-long and 18-inch-deep rolling suitcase. Investigators were the ones to open it up.

Inside was the dead body of Osborn-Stewart.

At 6-foot, 1-inch tall and 200 pounds, Dorsey is physically imposing, with tattoos covering both meaty arms. Osborn-Stewart was slight in comparison at 5 feet 2 inches tall and 100 pounds.

Prosecutors say Dorsey killed Osborn-Stewart at his apartment in Lake Elsinore. They say he strangled her, crammed her body into the suitcase before moving both to the Poway Best Western.

After the discovery of the suitcase, investigators searched Dorsey’s apartment and found evidence there that tied him to Osborn-Stewart’s killing, according to prosecutors, though no one has said yet what that evidence is—that will come later, likely during a preliminary hearing , which could be held as early as next month.

But when investigators served the warrant at Dorsey’s apartment, it was unoccupied—no one knew where he was. That didn’t stop prosecutors from issuing an arrest warrant for him Aug. 10. They also filed murder charges against him.

Until a few weeks ago, Dorsey was in the wind. But that didn’t mean investigators didn’t know where to go looking for him.

He used Osborn-Stewart’s debit card more than once in Mexico, The Press-Enterprise reported. And he crossed the border into Mexico Aug. 5, according to his cell phone records.

Local law enforcement called in the FBI to help track Dorsey down and they did, after obtaining a federal arrest warrant Sept. 5. They worked with Mexican authorities to arrest Dorsey Oct. 23 near Rosarito. He was extradited to San Diego, turned over to an FBI agent and later booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside.

Three days later, Dorsey appeared in court for the first time. He didn’t enter a plea but Judge Michael J. Rushton wasted no time in slapping the accused killer with a $5 million bail.

Dorsey faces 57 years in prison if convicted on one count of murder, along with enhancements for those prior convictions.

Authorities won’t yet discuss why they believe Dorsey brutally murdered a woman who liked him enough to overlook his criminal history and enter a relationship with him. That too will have to come out during court proceedings.

Contact Jesse B. Gill at or follow him on Twitter @IEW_WatchDog.



    Rest in Peace Sweetheart !! We love and Miss You


    Justice will be served Christine, I love you and I miss you, I know you are watching over all of us and as soon as the trial is over and he is punished, you and truly R.I.P.


    we love u Christine :(

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