Louis Ray Perez, 45, was described as a “person of interest” in an on-going murder investigation by a prosecutor in San Diego’s North County Superior courthouse today.
The active-duty Marine was not charged with murder today, however, instead he pleaded not guilty to two felonies in connection with unlawful possession of an assault weapon that he is accused of stealing.
Previously, the Sheriff had announced that Perez was the person last seen with Brittany Dawn Killgore, a 22-year-old woman who disappeared five days ago, April 13. Investigators announced a few days later that the body of a young woman was found in a rural area north of San Diego County, that body was officially ID'd as Brittany Killgore after Perez' court appearance.
Judge Sim von Kalinowski maintained bail at $500,000, he said because the defendant knows he is a suspect in a homicide which makes him a “flight risk.” The judge also said Perez was found in possession of a stolen military assault rifle which "only has one purpose – to kill people,” and so that makes Perez a risk to “public safety.”
The same prosecutor who filed charges against Perez today, Patrick Espinoza, is expected to arraign Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, tomorrow on murder charges. It has been widely reported in local media that Lopez tipped off investigators to the location of Killgore's body in a suicide note which was found in Lopez' hotel room.