The Coast News Group

Decision over death penalty to be determined in murder trial

VISTA — Though the trial is set to begin in early October, prosecutors have yet to determine whether or not they will seek the death penalty for three defendants facing charges for the murder of a young military wife.

The body of Brittany Dawn Killgore, a 22-year-old wife of a Camp Pendleton Marine, was found on April 17, 2012 in Riverside County.

Louis Ray Perez, 47, Dorothy Gracemarie Maraglino, 38, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 26, are being tried for kidnapping, torture, first degree murder, and other charges related to the crime.

Law enforcement officials believe that Killgore was planning on going on a dinner cruise with Perez when she disappeared on April 13, 2012.

During the most recent status hearing at the Vista courthouse on April 8, prosecutors and defense attorneys stated that they are currently working on processing large amounts of evidence related to the case.

So far, over 7,000 pages, more than 150 dvds, and two external hard drives containing multiple terabytes of data have been collected as part of the case.

Progress preparing for trial has been slowed because the attorneys representing Perez and Lopez have changed in recent months, according to the attorneys.

Judge Michael Kirkman urged both parties to strive towards being prepared to go to trial by Oct. 7.

“We must keep our eye on a reasonable trial date,” he said.

Kirkman requested that both parties meet with the district attorney to decide whether the death penalty will be sought for any of the defendants before the case’s next hearing on July 11.

“The issue of whether the death penalty will be sought in this case needs to be resolved as soon as possible,” he said.