Three people involved in a perverse sexual triangle that left marine wife Brittany Killgore dead were convicted today of first-degree murder and several other charges. All three convicts face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The New York Daily News reports that Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, Dorothy Maraglino, 40, and Louis Ray Perez, 49, were all found guilty of strangling and killing Killgore, 22, the wife of Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore. The murder occurred in 2012, in Southern California, after Killgore befriended Perez during a tumultuous time with her husband. Perez, also a Marine, was into perverse sexual fantasies, unbeknownst to Killgore.
Court documents indicate that Perez was into bondage and sadomasochism, and frequently went to websites to brag about what he was planning to do Killgore. CBS News reports that on April 17, 2012, authorities found Killgore, naked and deceased, near Lake Skinner in Winchester, California.
Killgore wasn’t interested in Perez’s perversions, but she became an unwilling participant when he tied a rope around her neck, shot her with a stun gun, and smothered her with a pillow. Perez admitted in a written statement that he killed the young marine’s wife because he feared she would take Lopez away from him, a woman he describes as his master. Yet, there is no evidence to suggest that Killgore was ever involved in Lopez’s sadistic games.
According to Patrick Espinoza, a prosecuting attorney, the defendants all partook in killing Kilgore “for their own sadistic pleasure.” Defense attorneys, however, argued that the sexual acts were consensual, and that Lopez was “the perfect slave” in an agreed sexual bondage triangle. As a victim of a slave contract, Lopez was forced to take the blame for Killgore’s death, even though, according to her attorney, she didn’t participate.
Maraglino, who had a baby while awaiting her trial in prison, was found guilty of conspiring to kidnap Killgore in order to fulfill Perez’s fantasy. Meanwhile, Lopez was acquitted for the conspiring to kidnap charge, but found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted sexual battery, torture, and kidnapping, along with the other two defendants.
Killgore’s mother, Michelle Wrest, opened up about her daughter after the verdict was read. After dabbing away tears from her eyes, West said that although her daughter was going through a rough time and planned to file for a divorce from her husband, she didn’t deserve what the three defendants did to her.
“Our daughter was a beautiful young woman, inside and out. And unfortunately, she ran across people that were not good… were monsters, and took her life. She is going to be missed for the rest of our lives.”
Killgore was last seen on April 13, 2012, the night she met up with Perez, who asked her to join him on a dinner cruise in San Diego. Killgore was hesitant to go out with Perez, especially after learning that Maraglino was pregnant with his child at the time, yet she agreed to the date after Perez promised her to have his Marine friends help her move from her apartment. Killgore was planning on moving back to her hometown in Pennsylvania.
Later that night, one of Killgore’s friends received a one-word text message from her: “help.” Killgore was never seen again. Prosecutors stated that there was never a dinner cruise, and Perez drove her to Maraglino’s home on East Fallbrook Street to force her into his corrupt fantasies.
Perez kept his head down throughout most of the five-week trial, and although defense attorneys attempted to exonerate their clients, it didn’t work. Espinoza thanked numerous witnesses after the verdicts were read, stating that they helped tremendously in solving the case.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to these individuals who basically exposed parts of their personal life to come forward and to offer testimony in hopes that ultimately justice could prevail.”
The three defendants will find out their fate during their sentencing on November 19. All three are expected to get life without parole for murder, and additional charges for the other crimes against Brittany Killgore.
[Photos by Corey Killgore / Facebook, AP, & San Diego County Sheriff’s Department]