J. Vincent Piluso 3:20 p.m., May 20
Louis Perez and two others ordered to trial for killing
California judge finds sufficient evidence of kidnap, torture and murder
Louis Ray Perez, 46, frowned at the judge while he was being ordered to stand trial for the killing of Brittany Dawn Killgore, a 22-year-old woman who was married to a Marine deployed to Afghanistan when she went missing almost a year ago, in April of 2012.
Co-defendants Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, and Dorothy Maraglino, 37, were also ordered to face the same charges, after more than a week of preliminary hearings in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
Brittany Killgore was packing to move back home to the East Coast, when she reluctantly agreed to go on a dinner-date with Louis Perez the night she disappeared, according to testimony. She had protested that she was tired, but Perez talked her into going on the dinner-cruise by promising 5 persons to help her pack the next day. Perez also claimed that the tickets were already purchased for the harbor cruise and they would go to waste, but no tickets were ever actually purchased, according to a prosecutor.
After Brittany agreed to go with Perez that night, there were a series of text messages between the two, and Brittany reportedly replied to Perez: “LOL. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
The movements of the three accused persons were closely tracked by their cell phone use and surveillance video, according to evidence presented over six days of hearings.
Louis Perez parked his vehicle outside of the apartment complex where Brittany lived that night, Friday April 13th of 2012, even though it was raining and she was reluctant to meet him at the curb as he requested, according to text messages recovered by investigators. The prosecutor appeared to suggest Perez was trying to avoid surveillance cameras in place at the apartment complex.
Prosecutor Patrick Espinoza claimed that defendants communicated their intent to have one of their painful “play sessions” with an unsuspecting victim, in the days immediately preceding the deadly night; the communiqués were sent through one of the Internet sites which cater to sado-masochistic persons, the prosecutor told the court.
A forensic pathologist stated that he observed the body of Brittany Killgore where it was found, alongside a road near Lake Skinner, on April 17, 2012. The doctor said the victim died of ligature strangulation, and he described post-mortem cut-wounds on her body.
Honorable K. Michael Kirkman stated that “this was an effort to address a fantasy” and “unfortunately for Miss Killgore” she was the object of the fantasy. The judge ordered all three defendants, who plead not-guilty to all charges, back into his courtroom on Thursday March 21, 2013.