The night she was murdered, the young military wife wore a purple gown.
Brittany Killgore dressed up for a dinner cruise with a Marine sergeant in downtown San Diego. But the 22-year-old never reached the harbor. Instead, her date—with the help of two other women—allegedly kidnapped and tortured her as part of their demented sex ring.
The twisted trap was set when Sgt. Louis Ray Perez appeared at her door on April 13, 2012. Killgore had just filed for divorce from her husband, a Marine who was deployed in Afghanistan, and planned to move home to Pennsylvania.
Perez, an acquaintance, invited Killgore to dinner and she initially declined. Later that day, she asked if he knew people to help her move. Perez texted her: “Party with me tonight & you’ll have five guys there in the morning,” according to the criminal complaint.
Minutes after Perez picked Killgore up, the woman sent her friend an ominous text message, reading only, “Help.” Her body was found nude and mutilated in a ditch four days later—a victim of what authorities describe as a sadomasochistic thrill killing.
Now Perez, 49, is facing life in prison along with his alleged conspirators Dorothy Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28. They were convicted of murder and kidnapping by a jury Wednesday for their sick plot that turned their BDSM—bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism—fantasies into reality, authorities claim.
According to prosecutors, the threesome had shared their fantasies with the BDSM community before. The delusion included “kidnapping a woman off the street, taking the woman somewhere, playing with the woman, beating the woman and raping the woman,” the criminal complaint says.
The alleged murderers may have made good on this perverted daydream.
Police also found a sex dungeon inside Maraglino’s home, where cops believe Killgore was murdered. Authorities removed whips, restraints, zip ties, swords, a machete, black spiked gloves, a Taser, and black knife labeled “The Black Defender,” NBC San Diego reported.
Meanwhile, an autopsy revealed Killgore died of “homicidal violence,” and had strangulation marks on her neck, along with wounds on her left wrist consistent with handcuff use, according to the TV station.
Killgore’s face and neck had marks indicating her killers’ “use of an electrical weapon,” and her wrist and left knee had large gashes “suggestive of attempted dismemberment,” the post-mortem showed.
At a 2013 hearing, a deputy medical examiner testified that Killgore was strangled with some type of ligature that crushed the cartilage in her airway and caused her death. He said her body had been moved.
The medical examiner said this wasn’t a sex game turned deadly. The injuries appeared to be caused by more force than what’s expected in a consensual incident, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Even more chilling, Killgore knew her alleged killers and previously indicated she had no interest in their alternative lifestyle.
Perez’s S&M nickname was “Ivan,” and he called his girlfriend, Maraglino, “Ms. Dee.”
In an online personals profile, Perez wrote, “My name is Ivan and I am Lord & Master, Dom & Daddy of My house. My slave, Ms. Dee, is slave to no one but Myself. She is My slave, lover, confidant and partner. She is Mistress and care giver of the household and manages it according to My wishes.”
Perez wrote that he and his mate were seeking “sincere submissives, perhaps with the potential of or the heart of a slave.”
“We believe in chemistry & openness,” the alleged killer continued. “So negative karma and false persons, or those looking to get off on cheap thrills, need not apply.”
It’s unclear how they met Lopez, who played the slave role of “Roselyn.”
Last month, jurors were shown photos of Lopez wearing a collar, along with the dog bowl she ate from, the Union-Tribune reported. Lopez was also inked with a tattoo saying “Ms. D’s Pet.”
“She was known as ‘money bitch,’” Lopez’s lawyer told the jury, according to KGTV. “Her role was not unsimilar to that of a dog.”
Killgore was introduced to the deranged trio in 2011, when her best friend, Elizabeth Hernandez, responded to Maraglino’s online ad selling a fertility monitor.
Hernandez previously testified that she and the mistress Maraglino became fast friends. She and Killgore, however, made it clear they weren’t interested in BDSM roleplaying, the Associated Press reported.
In 2012, Hernandez and Killgore began to grow apart. Hernandez didn’t like that Killgore was preparing to divorce her husband, Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore, and started dating her brother. That’s when the S&M sect took Hernandez’s side and started referring to Killgore as “the disease” and “herpes,” the AP reported.
Perez and Maraglino “would say they could get rid of her but they wouldn’t because they knew I would miss her,” Hernandez testified. At the time, she believed the couple was joking.
Still, a flurry of text messages between Perez and Maraglino appear to shed light on the couple’s alleged plot to lure the brunette beauty to her death.
According to the criminal complaint, Perez sent a message to Maraglino saying, “That guy was not successful,” after his invitation to Killgore was initially declined. Maraglino replied, “Tomorrow’s another day.”
When Perez eventually persuaded Killgore to accept his invitation, he asked Maraglino to call Killgore and assure her it was OK. Maraglino, who was pregnant with Perez’s child, allegedly told the victim she wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want the cruise tickets to go to waste, authorities say.
At 8:11 p.m., after Perez picked Killgore up, he texted Maraglino, “Come home.” A half-hour later, one of Killgore’s friends called Perez asking where she was. Perez replied that they split after Killgore met some guys, prosecutors state.
Perez was the last person to see her alive, prosecutors say.
Authorities launched a search for Killgore the next day after her cellphone was found in the Gaslamp Quarter. A homeless person was trying to sell the phone to a stranger, who then called Killgore’s mother.
On April 15, 2012, cops arrested Perez on unrelated charges of stealing an AR-15 assault rifle, and questioned the Marine on Killgore’s disappearance.
Killgore’s mangled body was discovered by a road worker two days later.
Around the same time, cops cuffed Lopez at a local Ramada Inn, where authorities found her with a suicide note and self-inflicted injuries to her neck and wrists. In an apparent confession, Lopez wrote that Killgore showed up at their home looking for her purse.
Lopez claims to have attacked Killgore after she “saw someone peeking in Master’s car.”
“I knew what I had to do. I grabbed her ankle slamming her into the stairs, duct-taping her ankles wrists and mouth,” the supposed confession read.
“I dropped that useless waste of space off some little hill by Lake Skinner, I don’t know where exactly,” the note read, according to court testimony covered by Fox 5.
Lopez appeared to take the fall for “Master Ivan,” writing: “I want the world to know how you tried to pin this on an innocent Marine, who would give his life to protect us from our enemies. Maybe now I can protect him from you.”
Lawyers for the accused threesome presented different accounts of Killgore’s death.
Jane Kinsey, Maraglino’s attorney, said her client was at a grocery store when Killgore was killed, and that she jettisoned her S&M inclinations after becoming pregnant. Her only crime was “lying and covering up for someone she loved,” Kinsey said.
For his part, Perez’s legal eagle, Brad Patton, is pinning the crime on Lopez. Perez dropped Killgore off at Maraglino’s home that night and left. When he returned, he found Lopez alone with Killgore’s body, Patton claimed.
Lopez had a reason to kill, Patton said, claiming that she saw Killgore as a threat to the BDSM household. Perez only discarded Killgore’s phone in an attempt “to cover his bases,” before he and Lopez dumped her body, the attorney said.
But Lopez’s lawyer, Sloan Ostbye, said her client was working all day when Killgore vanished. She called Lopez’s alleged confession “false and inaccurate” and said Lopez was set up to be her master and mistress’s scapegoat.
“[She was] the perfect slave, the perfect victim, the patsy,” Ostbye said.