The San Diego County district attorney is ready to meet with defense attorneys regarding the possibility of seeking the death penalty in a high-profile murder case, a prosecutor said on January 17, 2014.
Nearly two years ago, in April of 2012, the abused, nude body of Brittany Dawn Killgore, 22, was found dumped by the side of a road in Riverside County.
Louis Perez, 47, Dorothy Maraglino, 38, and Jessica Lopez, 26, all pled not guilty to charges of kidnap, torture, and murder. One month ago, new attorneys were assigned to two of the defendants: Brad Patton now represents Perez, and Terry Zimmerman now represents Maraglino; Sloan Ostbye continues to advise Lopez.
As part of the protocol before declaring whether or not the death penalty is pursued, district attorney Bonnie Dumanis is expected to meet with each defense attorney.
This case has special interest in San Diego County because the victim was married to a Marine deployed to Afghanistan when she was killed, and defendant Perez was an active-duty Marine when he was arrested.
On Friday, prosecutor Patrick Espinoza made remarks suggesting that his office has new evidence — two terabytes of data recovered in computers and/or iPods found in Louis Perez’s vehicle. Killgore was last seen alive getting into a car with Perez, the prosecutor claims.
In previous court hearings, the prosecution presented evidence suggesting that all three defendants engaged in sadomasochistic activity and that photos were taken of their abusive actions. The defendants’ perverse behavior was exposed during a preliminary hearing in March 2013.
Defense attorneys on Friday demanded that the prosecution turn over any evidence they might have in their possession: copies of recorded phone calls from jail and any emails, written correspondence, or visitor information connected with the defendants. Each defendant is being held in lieu of $3 million bail.
The next court hearing in the case is set for April, and a tentative trial date is calendared in October.