Camp Pendleton Marine Sgt. Louis Perez, 46; Dorothy Maraglino, 37; and Jessica Lopez, 25, have each been charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, kidnapping and torture in connection with Brittany’s death.
Court documents released in the case indicate she was strangled to death, but also sustained injuries to her wrist and leg that appeared to be caused by someone attempting to dismember her body.
Brittany had recently filed for divorce from her estranged husband, Cory Killgore, who was deployed in Afghanistan. He attended the hearing Monday.
NBC notes that court documents reveal Brittany had declined to participate in a “deadly sex game” the three suspects allegedly practiced as part of a “sadomasochistic lifestyle.”
Perez, Maraglino, and Lopez have all pleaded not guilty to the charges they face.
Authorities say that at one time the three lived together in a Fallbrook home and had created a sex dungeon of sorts in one of the rooms.
NBC reports that on April 13, 2012, Perez asked Brittany out to a dinner cruise, but not long after he picked her up, a friend, Channy Tal, received a text from her that simply read “HELP.” Brittany's phone was recovered when a homeless man tried to sell it to a stranger in downtown San Diego.
The young Marine wife's nude, mutilated body was found on April 17 in a ditch near Lake Skinner.
Tal testified at Monday’s preliminary hearing, saying Brittany had planned to move back to Pennsylvania and only agreed to accept Perez’s invitation to dinner because he promised to get five people to help her move the next day.
She testified Brittany “…didn’t want to go. He was very persistent.”
In addition, Brittany’s best friend Elizabeth Hernandez, took the stand and said she and the slain Marine wife befriended the three defendants after Hernandez purchased a fertility monitor from Maraglino.
She also testified Maraglino would force Lopez to eat food out of dog bowls and said the two female defendants would frequently walk around nude.
Two women who were part of the sadomasochistic culture also testified, saying Lopez, Maraglino, and Perez wanted to “recruit” Brittany and Hernandez into their lifestyle, reports NBC.
According to the report, if convicted of the charges they face, the defendants could be sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars.