Estranged husband accused of murder, attempted kidnapping

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies investigate a stabbing on Fir Court in Saugus on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Tim Whyte/The Signal

In a San Fernando courtroom Monday, prosecutors charged the estranged husband of Michelle Dorsey, 39, a mother of three killed in her Saugus home last week, with murder and attempted kidnapping, according to officials.  

The arraignment for James “Matthew” Dorsey, 41, on five counts — murder, attempted kidnapping, residential burglary, evading police and resisting a law enforcement officer — was continued to May 3. During an arraignment, defendants are asked to enter a plea to the charges levied against them.  

The criminal complaint, submitted by Detective Gordon Lukehart and signed by Deputy District Attorney Ani Bailey, argues that Dorsey planned in advance and carried out “with malice” the murder of Michelle Dorsey. It also alleges that he attempted to forcibly detain and arrest Michelle through force.  

The charges 

Detectives expressed confidence they can show Dorsey illegally entered the Fir Court home in Saugus and murdered his estranged wife on the morning of April 15, according to sheriff’s officials. 

“He lived at the house for a while beforehand, they were married,” said Detective Chris Dimmitt of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau. “He had access to the house, but he entered the house obviously without permission.”  

Homicide detectives believe it was at that point that Dorsey stabbed his estranged wife multiple times, with their three young sons asleep in their rooms, and then stole her Chevy Malibu to flee the scene. Shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday, the mother of three called 911, was transported to the hospital, and died shortly after, but not before making a “dying declaration” that her estranged husband was her attacker.   

Dorsey is then alleged to have caused a multi-agency manhunt throughout the day Thursday, which ended almost 12 hours after the initial attack. The suspect led deputies on a brief chase that culminated in a standoff on a remote road in Quartz Hill, near the Kern County line, law enforcement officials report. The confrontation began around 4:45 p.m., and shortly after 10 p.m., Dorsey was taken into custody, per Sheriff’s Information Bureau officials.  

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department arrest records indicate Dorsey is being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in lieu of $1 million bail. 

Those wishing to financially support the three Dorsey boys and their family can visit the donation campaign website at     

— Editors’ Note: This story was updated to reflect updates given to The Signal Monday afternoon by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.   

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