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Louis Perez in court Dec 12, 2014

Dorothy Maraglino in court Dec 12, 2014.

Jessica Lopez in court Dec 12, 2014.

The possibility of the death penalty was removed from three defendants, Louis Perez, 48, Jessica Lopez, 27, and Dorothy Maraglino, 39, who learned during a hearing today that the maximum penalty they might face will be life without parole.

The three defendants all pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnap and torture and murder in the death of Brittany Dawn Killgore, 22, whose body was found by the side of a road in a neighboring county in April of 2012.

Prosecutor Patrick Espinoza

Prosecutor Patrick Espinoza said that attorneys for all three defendants have met separately with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, and they presented “mitigating” circumstances, intended to dissuade the DA from the ultimate penalty. Espinoza said that mitigating evidence is considered confidential and would not discuss it after the hearing today.

The jury trial, most recently set for February 2, was delayed again today, until June of next year. When she requested the new court date, defense attorney Sloan Ostbye said she had nearly 14,000 pages of paper discovery, and then she requested a list of witnesses from the prosecutor.

Attorneys estimated that jury selection could take ten days and that the trial will last at least two weeks. Jurors will be prescreened with a questionnaire, according to the judge.

Hon. Judge K. Michael Kirkman

Today, the attorney for Dorothy Maraglino requested that the defendant be excused from being present at future hearings, but Judge K. Michael Kirkman declined that request. Maraglino’s current attorney, Jane Kinsey, is her fourth counsel since her arrest in 2012. Maraglino has also attempted to represent herself during past hearings in San Diego’s North County Superior Court.

The next hearing for all three defendants is set for January 23, 2015.

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Comments

Visduh Dec. 13, 2014 @ 9 a.m.

While these charges would warrant the death penalty, if proven, the decision makes a great deal of good sense. The death penalty in California is an empty threat, and going for it in this trial would just string it out longer and make it cost more. I suspect that the DA is actually hoping to get them to plead guilty and avoid a trial. But, they're less likely to cop a plea deal with the death sentence off the table.

It is noteworthy that Lopez hasn't lost any weight at Las Colinas. Plenty to eat and nothing to do will have such a result.

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