Three people who belonged to a so-called “master-slave sex cult” were convicted Wednesday of torturing and murdering a young California woman, according to reports.
Brittany Killgore, 22, agreed on April 13, 2012 to go on a dinner cruise with former Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 49, in exchange for his helping her move out of her Fallbrook apartment, prosecutors said.
Within 13 minutes of getting in Perez’s truck, Killgore reportedly texted a friend, “Help,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Brittany are u okay I am freaking out here,” the friend quickly replied.
Two hours later, the friend was texted back, “Yes I love this party,” the Washington Post reported. “It’s OK. Music is too loud(.)”
The text didn’t seem like Killgore, the friend thought, saying it was too flippant and it was unlike her to use “yes” instead of “yeah,” the Post wrote.
Killgore’s naked body was found in a ravine in southern Riverside County four days later.
She had been strangled with what may have been a rope, her wrists and ankles appeared as if they had been bound and she had several small burn marks from an electric stun device, according to reports.
One of her legs had been cut after death in what may have been an attempt to dismember the body, the Post reported.
Prosecutors said that Perez took Killgore back to his home and texted Dorothy Grace Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, to come over. Evidence showed Perez had bragged that he planned to hold a “sadomasochism session” that weekend, the Times wrote.
Perez, Maraglino and Lopez were part of a cult that enjoyed bondage, whipping, spanking, cutting, sadism and masochism, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza told jurors during the trio’s trial, the paper wrote.
They killed Killgore “for their own sadistic pleasure,” Espinoza said.
The young woman had no knowledge of the “sex dungeon” in Perez’s home, where investigators uncovered “sex apparatuses, toys and a sex dungeon,” the Times detailed.
Investigators found ropes, whips, a Taser, a nightstick and spiked gloves in the home, and a plastic sheet was found in Perez’s car that experts said had Killgore’s blood on it, prosecutors said.
Perez and the victim’s husband, Corporal Cory Killgore, were both assigned to Camp Pendleton. Brittany Killgore reportedly filed for divorce from her husband, who was deployed to Afghanistan, three days before she went missing.
Though Perez, Maraglino and Lopez’s attorneys insisted that their clients were not present for the killing, it took a jury only three days to convict them of first-degree murder, kidnapping, torture and attempted sexual battery by restraint. Each of the three faces a possible life sentence. They will be sentenced on November 19.
Killgore’s mother, Michelle Wrest, was in court when the verdicts were read, the Times reported.
“Our daughter was a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and unfortunately she ran across people that were not good, were monsters and took her life," Wrest told reporters after the verdicts.
Wrest and Killgore’s father traveled out of state to be at their daughter’s killers’ trial, according to a GoFundMe page.
“With her parents being in a different state then their home state that means they will be out of work for a while,” the page read. “Any help would be appreciated. No one deserves to lose a child on go through what her family is going through… It's been a long 3 yrs (sic) of waiting and justice finally needs to be served!!”