Valentino Gutierrez, 56, has been charged with felony counts of murder and arson in connection with the grisly homicide, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office said.
According to FOX40's sister station KTLA, Los Angeles police investigators revealed new details about the case they called "particularly disturbing" in an afternoon press conference.
The victim was identified as 31-year-old Tiana Alfred, though her remains have not yet been positively identified by coroner's officials due to their condition, according to Capt. William Hayes.
She was Gutierrez's wife, and both lived in a homeless shelter on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena at the time of the crime, Hayes said.
Alfred's remains were found burning in a Home Depot parking lot last week, on Feb. 1, according to KTLA.
Investigators believe she was killed late at night on Jan. 31 in an abandoned restaurant in on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena that had been closed for some time.
Detectives have not recovered a weapon and said they are still unsure how exactly Alfred was killed. Hayes said the condition of her remains indicates "an awful lot of effort and determination."
KTLA reports forensic evidence was recovered from the restaurant scene, but officials did not disclose what it consisted of.
Gutierrez is accused of then loading her body parts into a suitcase and taking a Metro Gold Line train from Pasadena to the Lincoln/Cypress station shortly after midnight. Although other people were riding the train at the time, investigators said Gutierrez did not have contact with them.
He then allegedly took the suitcase to the Home Depot on the 2000 block of North Figueroa and set it ablaze. Firefighters responded to the scene — reported as a garbage fire — around 1:30 a.m. and discovered the human remains after the flames were extinguished.
Surveillance video and police bloodhounds were used to link Gutierrez to the homicide, according to LAPD Chief of Detectives Justin Eisenberg.
He was arrested last Friday and is being held on $2 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility near downtown L.A., police confirmed.
Eisenberg described Gutierrez as a "career criminal" and said he had prior convictions involving sexual battery, domestic violence, felony battery, narcotics, burglary, robbery, possession of a deadly weapon and negligent discharge of a firearm.
Gutierrez could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the charges, DA's officials said.
Officials believe there is no further danger to the public, according to KTLA. "This was definitely an individual he knew," and not a random incident, Hayes said.
The Pasadena Police Department also issued a statement Tuesday stressing that "Pasadena continues to be a safe community."
The department said it had responded to the abandoned restaurant near the intersection of California Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway three times last year for "homeless-related concerns."
KTLA's Tracy Bloom and Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.