A willing California “sex slave” who confessed to the 2012 murder of a woman kidnapped by her “masters” withdrew her confession, arguing she should be released – but a court ordered Tuesday that she remain locked up.
Jessica Lopez wrote a seven-page confession letter after the body of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore was found on April 17, 2012, near Skinner Lake in Riverside County, California.
Lopez, then 25, went to a Ramada Inn hotel in San Diego and attempted suicide, leaving the letter behind.
She was found by doctors and resuscitated, then arrested.
Lopez’s letter led to the arrest of his “master,” Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, then 45, and his pregnant girlfriend Dorothy Maraglino, then 40, whom Lopez described as his “mistress.” The trio was in a three-way relationship in which Lopez wore a dog collar and ate from a dog bowl.
Jessica Lopez, who said she was a willing “sex slave” to Louis Perez and Dorothy Maraglino, is pictured in court for her sentencing in November 2015. On Tuesday she lost her bid to have her murder conviction overturned .
A pregnant Dorothy Maraglino is pictured in June 2012 after her arrest for the murder of Brittany Killgore. His partner, Louis Perez (right) is pictured during his trial in March 2013.
Killgore was kidnapped by Louis Perez, a Marine, whom she knew through her husband Cory Killgore, who was also a Marine.
Brittany and Cory Killgore. He was in Afghanistan when she was murdered: she had filed for divorce two weeks before her death
Killgore’s husband, Cory Killgore, was a Marine and she knew Perez and Maraglino through her husband.
She had filed for divorce just days before her disappearance, while Cory was serving in Afghanistan. She was packing up to move to Missouri when Perez approached her and offered to help her if she wanted to go on a dinner cruise with him.
Perez then kidnapped Killgore and forced her to submit to a session of sexual bondage and torture before she was strangled and thrown into the ditch.
All three – Perez, Maraglino and Lopez – were convicted in 2015 of Killgore’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.
But Lopez wanted to take advantage of a 2018 law change that said accomplices who weren’t the actual killers or didn’t play a significant role in the killing wouldn’t be charged with murder.
Lopez changed her story last week and told a judge that she did not participate in the murder, but that she wrote a confession because she was under the orders of her “master” and his ” mistress “.
Sloan Ostbye, Lopez’s attorney, told the court last week that Lopez was a willing “slave” and wrote the confession letter to try to spare her “master” and “mistress.”
“She was manipulated, used and told to take responsibility for the crime,” Ostbye said, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Lopez told the court: “Slaves don’t ask questions. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.
Jessica Lopez is pictured in June 2012 speaking to her lawyer in court
Lopez said she and Maraglino were at a grocery store while Perez kidnapped Killgore, but she had forgotten her wallet, so she went home to get it and found a “distracted” Perez.
Lopez returned to the store and Perez texted Maraglino to come home.
The two women returned home and Maraglino entered the house and told Lopez to wait in the car.
Lopez said she waited in the car, then took the grocery bags and went to the garage, which had been converted into a bedroom.
In the room, she saw a woman on her knees, her head on the floor and her face turned away.
Lopez said the woman had duct tape around her head.
Lopez said Perez and Maraglino were also in the room, talking, and ordered Lopez to go upstairs.
She obeyed and spent the evening alone watching a movie.
Brittany Killgore was forced by Perez and Maraglino to participate in a BDSM session, while Lopez was upstairs, Lopez now says
The next day, Perez ordered him to help dispose of Killgore’s body.
Ostbye argued that Lopez, as a willing sex slave, was brainwashed by Perez and Maraglino.
She ate from a dog bowl, wore a collar and participated in their bondage, discipline, domination and submission sessions.
“She was willing to get cuts, tattoos, eat out of bowls, even kill herself,” Ostbye said.
“She was so controlled and brainwashed that she did everything she was told to do.”
However, on Tuesday, the judge ruled that Lopez was a major participant in the murder and therefore the conviction should stand.
“He understood the lifestyle of these participants, the BDSM lifestyle and the violence inflicted in the home,” said San Diego Chief Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza, explaining the judge’s decision.
“And he was able to use that evidence to conclude that not only was she a major participant, but she also had a reckless disregard for human life.”
Maraglino also asked to have his murder conviction overturned under the new law, 10 News reported. A court date for his hearing has not been set.