Prosecutor was denied access to papers found in the jail cell of one defendant
The prosecutor in a high-profile murder case was denied access to papers found in one defendant’s jail cell, by a ruling in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse today, July 10, 2013.
Judge K. Michael Kirkman ruled in favor of defense attorney Sloan Ostbye, who claimed “attorney-client privilege” on the documents. The public defender told Judge Kirkman that the pages were written in response to a request she made of her client, defendant Jessica Lopez.
The pages were written in “cipher” or code, and were collected from the cell of Lopez, who is one of three persons charged with murdering Brittany Dawn Killgore. The victim was last seen leaving her apartment in April 2012, when she allegedly got into a car with one of the defendants, Louis Perez. The victim’s abused body was found four days later, on April 17, dumped alongside a road in a neighboring county.
This murder caused a stir in San Diego County because the victim was married to a Marine deployed to Afghanistan at the time, and defendant Louis Perez was an active-duty Marine when he was arrested.
Adding to the grotesque interest is prosecutor Patrick Espinoza’s assertions that the beautiful young woman was abducted as part of a sadomasochistic fantasy. The perverse lifestyle of the defendants was exposed during a preliminary hearing four months ago.
Louis Ray Perez, 46, and Dorothy Maraglino, 38, and Jessica Lopez, 26, all plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy and kidnap and torture and murder. The prosecutor is alleging “special circumstance” of murder-during-kidnap, against all three defendants, meaning all three could face the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole.
This afternoon the judge set November 14, 2013, as the next court date for all three defendants. It is expected that attorneys will have met with District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis by that time, this as part of the protocol for deciding whether or not to seek the death penalty, here. Meetings could also include other interested parties, such as the family of the victim.
In a separate motion, the attorney for defendant Louis Perez asked that Perez be transported to University of California San Diego for an eye exam. Public defender Jeff Reichert stated that Perez is far-sighted and has need of eye glasses, and that UCSD is contracted to service jail inmates for that need. This produced serious looks on the faces of the bailiffs in the courtroom, who are all San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies.