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 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.
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.