Three people have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore, the wife of a Marine based in Camp Pendleton, California. Killgore’s body was found in a remote area near Lake Skinner on Tuesday, April 17, four days after she disappeared. ABC News reported that Killgore was last seen on April 13, when she told friends she was going out in San Diego’s Gaslamp district. According to Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza, Killgore texted the word “help” to a friend the night of her death.
Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 45, Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, and Dorothy Maraglino, 36, have been charged with her murder; all three have pleaded not guilty. All three lived together in a Fallbrook home about a mile away from where Killgore lived with her husband. It was there that police allege Killgore was killed. A suicide note found in the Point Loma hotel room where Lopez was staying led police to the body and implicated the trio. Lopez, who had reportedly tried to kill herself the same day that Killgore’s body was found, was brought to the hospital with lacerations, and later charged with murder. According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Lopez refers to Perez and Maraglino as “Master” and “Mistress” and tries to shift the blame onto herself, saying, “I want the WORLD to know how you tried to pin this on an innocent marine who would give his life to protect us from our enemies. Maybe now I am protect(ing) him from you.” Her attorney, Sloan Ostbye, told the Union Tribune that the note should not be believed.
Perez, who, despite being married, was involved with Maraglino, reportedly has profiles on several BDSM websites. In the profiles, Perez refers to Maraglino, who is six months pregnant, as his girlfriend and sex slave. Perez’s arrest came on April 26 after what authorities say was Killgore’s blood and the weapon used to kill her were found in his car. Police didn’t specify the type of weapon, or whether Perez’s interest in bondage had any relevance the murder. Two days after Killgore’s disappearance, Perez was arrested on charges of possession of stolen property and illegal possession of an assault rifle, to which he pleaded not guilty. He is being held at Vista Detention Facility on $3,075,000 bail.
The last to be arrested was Maraglino, who entered her not guilty plea yesterday. According to Espinoza, Killgore accompanied a friend to Maraglino’s home to pick up an item the friend had agreed to purchase from her online. While Killgore was there, prosecutors say Perez invited her to attend a dinner cruise with him, Maraglino and Lopez. Perez told police that on the night of the cruise, he dropped Killgore off at the Gaslamp district, but authorities determined that he remained in Fallbrook. Killgore was not seen alive again after meeting up with Perez. Maraglino, like Lopez, is being held in lieu of $3,000,000 bail at Las Colinas Detention Facility.
Killgore’s husband, Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore, who is not a suspect in the case, returned from Afghanistan following news of his wife’s death. She had filed for divorce two days before her disappearance. The couple had been married since 2010.