The three defendants charged in the death of Fallbrook Marine wife Brittany Dawn Killgore appeared in Vista Superior Court Friday, Jan. 23 for a Felony Readiness Conference with Judge K. Michael Kirkman, part of the process leading up to their jury trial set to begin June 1.
Louis Ray Perez, 48, Dorothy Grace Marie Maraglino, 39, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 27, will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if found guilty of the crime that includes murder, kidnapping, torture, conspiracy, and attempted sexual battery. All three have plead not guilty. In December, the District Attorney’s Office announced it would not seek the death penalty for the three, but would not disclose the reason.
The conference began by Kirkman asking both the prosecution and defense to commit to a briefing schedule regarding additional hearings that will be conducted prior to the trial.
The final schedule established that another status hearing would be held March 13 and that any pre-trial motions must be filed by April 1. “Any oppositions will be due April 17 and the hearing for the motions will be held April 30 and/or May 1,” said Kirkman.
Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza advised the judge that during the jury selection process he would like a questionnaire to be used.
“If we do, it must be short; under 10 pages,” said Kirkman, who will ultimately determine if one will be used or not. Espinosa inferred that the questionnaire could include special screening due to that fact that the case involves the complexities of an alternate lifestyle and sex-related crime.
Jane Kinsey, defensive attorney for Maraglino, asked the judge if her client could be given permission not to attend future conferences/hearings. It was not disclosed what grounds were provided for that in paperwork previously submitted. Kirkman made a decision regarding the next appearance only.
“I will grant a ‘no appearance’ for her in regards to the March 13 conference, but she must appear April 30 and May 1,” said Kirkman.
Kinsey also asked that Maraglino be granted contact/visitation with her (2 1/2-year-old) child while in jail and that the judge also consider a reduction in her bail, which is currently $3 million.
“I will ask the Sheriff to consider the contact/visitation issue, but it is his decision ultimately, not mine,” said Kirkman. “As far as the bail, I won’t reduce it given the information that was provided during the preliminary hearing. The bail stands.”
Killgore, who had just filed for divorce from her Marine Corps husband (who was deployed to Afghanistan at the time), was reported missing in April of 2012 after she said she had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez, a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Pendleton.
A friend of Killgore said the woman text messaged the word “help” shortly after leaving with Perez.
Her nude and abused body was found four days later, in a roadside ditch, near Lake Skinner in southern Riverside County.
At the trio’s preliminary hearing in 2013, witnesses said all three of the defendants participated in master/slave role-playing and sadomasochistic activities that included bondage, torture, and more.
Sheriff’s Detective Susan Fiske said Killgore was an “unwilling participant,” according to reports.
The prosecution alleges that Perez took Killgore to a Fallbrook home that featured a “sex dungeon” and invited Maraglino and Lopez to join him. At some point, Killgore was killed.
The victim’s husband, Marine Cory Killgore, who was returned to the U.S. after his wife’s murder, was cleared of any wrongdoing by authorities. At the time he said, “Brittany was a beautiful, good person who did not deserve this.”
Maraglino was said to be about five months pregnant with Perez’ child at the time of Killgore’s murder. She gave birth to a daughter in August 2012 while in custody. A custody battle over the child has followed.