City Council wants sentencing enhancements in Dorsey case

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council has asked the city manager to prepare a letter to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seeking the board’s support in adding sentencing enhancements to the case of murder suspect James “Matthew” Dorsey. 

Last week, L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón’s office charged James Dorsey with murder, attempted kidnapping, residential burglary, evading police and resisting a law enforcement officer in connection with the death of Michelle Dorsey, his estranged wife.  

Michelle Dorsey, a mother of three, was stabbed to death in her Santa Clarita home earlier this month. 

Santa Clarita Councilman Jason Gibbs expressed frustration with Gascón during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. 

“Thanks to the special directives and policies of District Attorney Gascón, the discussion on what the punishment should be for someone who drives for hours from out of state, who had a restraining order, and stabs his (estranged) wife in her home, is now limited under the guise of equity, fairness or some other descriptor that will only pour salt in the wounds of the victims who have to live with the results of this person’s actions every single day,” he said. 

Gibbs said sentencing enhancements, like murder in commission of a burglary and lying in wait, were removed by Gascón. 

“When (Gascon’s) policies are telling the public that a man can be tried for cold-blooded murder of his wife, and leaving their children of three parentless, (and) can pay their debt to society in 20 years, he has destroyed justice from Michelle Dorsey for the sake of his own personal views,” he said. 

Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste suggested sending a letter to the county to “get support to work through this to get in some enhancements.” 

“What has happened to Michelle Dorsey is the worst nightmare,” said Weste. “I believe that she’s ours, and we must stand for her here in this valley.” 

The City Council will review its five-signature letter to the county at an upcoming meeting, according to Carrie Lujan, the city’s public information officer. 

“The City Council will have an opportunity to review the letter at that time,” Lujan wrote in an email statement, “in addition to receiving comments from members of the public on the item.” 

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