Police arrested Joseph Dorsey, 28, in Mexico on Tuesday, then extradited him back to the United States. He has been charged with first-degree murder for the death of 47-year-old Christine Stewart in August.
Investigators found her body inside a suitcase in a Poway Best Western motel room Aug. 8.
Stewart was a drug counselor in Hemet. She was reported missing Aug. 4, the same day she and Dorsey were last seen together near a business complex in Canyon Lake.
The two were apparently dating at the time. The District Attorney's office says Dorsey killed her at his Lake Elsinore apartment before driving to the hotel in San Diego County.
Family members of the victim were also at the hearing Friday.
"I wanted him to look at me, and he wouldn't, I wanted him to look at me, I wanted him to feel my pain," said Stewart's mother, Judy Brauer. "I just want it over, I want him in bars the rest of his life, he shouldn't get to breathe. My daughter doesn't get to breathe anymore."
Dorsey remains in jail on $5 million bail. His arraignment has been postponed one week. Dorsey, who has two prior felony strikes against him, faces 57 years to life prison sentence if convicted.