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Three defendants in a highly-publicized murder case have been ordered to provide handwriting samples, possibly to determine who really wrote an alleged “suicide note” which is said to put all the blame on one defendant.

Investigators found Jessica Lopez in a hotel room with wounds described as “self-inflicted” on April 17. Handwritten pages, sometimes described as a “suicide note,” were found at the same time in her hotel room, and later the same day the body of Brittany Killgore was recovered in a neighboring county. Law enforcement had been searching for 22-year-old Killgore for days, they said she was last seen the night of Friday April 13 with Louis Perez, and was reported missing the next day. Brittany Killgore was married to a Marine deployed in Afghanistan, and Louis Perez was an active-duty Marine at the time of his arrest.

The defense attorney for Louis Perez has made statements in court claiming that the note found with co-defendant Lopez “exonerates” his client. The note “provided details about how Brittany Killgore was murdered” and “the document attempted to exonerate two of the defendants,” according to prosecutor Patrick Espinoza, in papers filed with the court.

Jessica Lopez, 25, and Dorothy Maraglino, 36, and Louis Perez, 45, have all pleaded not guilty to a single murder charge, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse. Maraglino reportedly owned the house where she and the two co-defendants lived, and the prosecutor has said Brittany Killgore was murdered in that house.

Prosecutor Patrick Espinoza requested a judge to order all three defendants to provide handwriting “exemplars.” He stated: “Homicide detectives have obtained handwritten documents for which they wish to have compared to the known writings of each defendant.”

Judge Kimberlee Lagotta issued the order for handwriting “exemplars” the same day as the request, May 22, 2012.

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