Suspect In Brittany Killgore Murder Case Pleads 'Not Guilty' To Killing Marine's Wife, New Details Emerge About Disappearance

By : Subscribe to IBTimes's | April 27, 2012 11:02 PM IST

Camp Pendleton Marine Louis Ray Perez plead 'not guilty' to charges of murder in relation to the murder of Brittany Killgore, who was found dead in San Diego after being declared missing for several days. New details have emerged on what may have happened the night she disappeared. 

Killgore met Perez, 45, on April 13 for a night out after filing for divorce from her husband, Cory, who was then serving as a vehicle operator in Afghanistan. They were supposed to go on a dinner cruise together with another one of Perez's female friends. His female friend backed out the last minute.

The night quickly turned tragic. According to the Associated Press, Killgore texted an unidentified friend that she was in trouble.

"She sent a text saying, 'Help,'" Patrick Espinoza, a deputy district attorney in San Diego County, said to the Associated Press. "She was missing from that point on."

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Killgore's nude body was found near Lake Skinner on April 17. A suicide note left by Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, alerted the authorities to the location of the body.

Lopez was arrested at the Ramada Inn after police found her with self-inflicted wounds on her body. She was treated at a local hospital for a "medical necessity" before being arraigned for a first degree murder charge.

Authorities used Killgore's text as evidence for Perez's involvement in her death at his arraignment. He pled not guilty to murder.

More details emerged about what exactly happened to Killgore during his arraignment.

Perez said he dropped Killgore off in the Gaslamp District of San Diego. Investigators ascertained that this was false, and concluded that he had stayed about 60 miles away in Fallbrook, where Killgore lived.

Investigators found Killgore's blood and a weapon in Perez's car. Investigators are not sure if the weapon found in Perez's car was used in Killgore's death. It is still unclear on how Killgore died, reported the Associated Press.

Espinoza refused to go into further details about Killgore's death, and declined to give a motive behind the murder.

Lopez and Perez both pleaded not guilty to murder. They are being held on $3 million bail each. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 30. If convicted they both face maximum sentences of life in prison.

Perez's attorney, Jeff Reichert, said his client's bail should be set lower because the suicide note revealed Lopez killed Killgore.

"The note indicates very very clearly that Perez has nothing to do with the homicide," said Reichert, according to NBC San Diego.  

Superior Court Judge Kimberlee Lagotta ordered Lopez's suicide note to be sealed. Details of the note were not released.

Perez was in police custody for an unrelated charge until Tuesday. He was arrested for possessing a stolen AR-15 military assault rifle. He pled not guilty to those charges on April 18.

Perez has been a person of interest in Killgore's case since April 14, said Captain Duncan Fraser with the Sheriff's Homicide Detail to NBC Chicago.

Marine Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore released a statement Thursday about his wife's death via the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

"My wife Brittany, was beautiful beyond words and her murder has left me devastated. My duty to her memory is now to ensure her good reputation remains intact, and help law enforcement and prosecutors secure justice for the person, or persons who took her away from me," the statement read.

"Brittany's death cannot be in vain -- at this point, I don't know how to use this tragedy for good, but others have found their way and I hope to do the same. Brittany meant too much to do any less. As my father‐in‐law said, please honor my wife's name and don't succumb to salacious gossip and rumor. Brittany was a beautiful, good person, who did not deserve this."

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