San Diego

‘I Didn't Do It. I Loved Her': Joshua Palmer Calls Mom From SDPD HQ

Joshua Matthew Palmer called his mother from the police department after his co-worker's body was found just a few feet from his apartment complex, stuffed inside a suitcase.

What to Know

  • Shauna Haynes' body was discovered by a man who lives near The Chadwick Hotel on April 6, 2016.
  • Palmer told a 911 dispatch operator he last saw his girlfriend after she left his apartment to use the communal bathroom.
  • The defense admits Palmer lied to police and sent text messages from the victim's phone because he "panicked."

“I didn’t do it. I loved her. I love her.”

Those words were from Joshua Palmer, the man facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of a woman whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase in April 2016.

During the second day of Palmer's trial, jurors listened to a lengthy videotaped interrogation by a San Diego Police detective.

At one point, Palmer was given a phone and left alone. He called his mother, but the call went to voicemail and Palmer left a message.

“I swear on my life I didn’t do it. The evidence points towards me because she was found 15 feet from my door,” said Palmer. “Not only have I lost the woman that I loved but I’m about to lose my freedom and go to jail for murder. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it. I loved her. I love her. I am scared.”

Palmer’s mother was in court as the video was played and bowed her head, crying. After the court adjourned for a lunch break, Palmer’s mother was seen hugging the victim's family.

Shauna Haynes, 21, was found dead on April 6, 2016, inside a suitcase left near trash bins outside The Chadwick, an apartment building at A Street and 7th Avenue in downtown San Diego.

During the police interview, Palmer admits to videotaping Haynes after she had fallen asleep in his room on the second floor of the hotel.

He said the pair had had a fight after having sex with two other people. Palmer said Haynes woke up while he was taping her on his cell phone and she became enraged.

“We had sex, it was completely consensual. She rolled over and went to sleep and I pulled out my phone and I started to videotape her. I made some videotapes and she caught me and she freaked out. She freaked out”, said Palmer.

At that point, Haynes ran out of the room. according to Palmer. He said that was the last time he saw her.

At times, the interview was contentious as the police detective insisted the evidence pointed toward Palmer.

“I’m not the one that did it, okay? I’m not. I would have marks. I would have defensive wounds on me,” said Palmer.

Earlier, Palmer had told police the pair did not have a fight. This was his explanation.

“I lied because I was embarrassed from the fact that I’m a pervert and I was videotaping her. She caught me and got mad,” said Palmer.

Earlier Tuesday, several friends and co-workers testified that Palmer had sent misleading text messages to them after the discovery of Haynes’ body.

Prosecutors described the victim as a platonic friend of the defendant.  The two worked together at the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant.

However, the defense attorney told jurors that Palmer was in love with Haynes and that the victim had planned to move in with Palmer. 

Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle suggested the motive for the killing was jealousy. He told jurors in his opening statement that Palmer watched Haynes, a woman he desired, as she had sex with another man. 

Palmer sent text messages from the victim’s cellphone to family members to make it appear as if Haynes was still alive.

His defense is that he lied to police because he panicked.

“This is not a case where you will have to decide who caused the death of Shauna Haynes. The issues in this case are the circumstances surrounding her death and when and how the sex happened,” Palmer's attorney Katie Belisle told jurors in opening statements. 

The San Diego County District Attorney’s office has charged Palmer with murder and special circumstance allegations of murder during a rape. He’s also charged with murder during sodomy and murder during a rape by an instrument.

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