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Cold Case: Brenda Banaski Missing Teen

Dorothy Maraglino and Jessica Lopez California

Brittany Kilgore
I was so surprised when I stumbled across this case last night. It is so torrid and shocking and obscure I can’t imagine why it hasn’t crossed one of the bajillion true crime news feeds I wade through every day. The tragically ambiguous death of Brittany Kilgore in California has so many weird twists and turns, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Young, beautiful, vibrant Brittany was a Marine’s wife who had filed for divorce and was pursuing her own interests when she met Louis Perez. Perez was also in the military and the two made a date to take a dinner cruise. She was never seen again.

Louis Perez
Brittany disappeared in April of 2012. A friend saw her last wearing a dark purple evening gown. After four days missing, her battered and torn body was found nude in a ditch near Lake Skinner in Riverside County.

Let’s backtrack a bit. Months before her death a friend takes Brittany to the home of U.S. Marine Sergeant Louis Perez, 45, his girlfriend  Dorothy Maraglino, 37 and 25 year old Jessica Lopez. The three openly lived a slave/master/mistress relationship and guests were aware of their living arrangements. They spoke often and candidly about their sexually deviant, sadomasochistic affairs including bondage, whipping, cutting and spanking. Brittany became friends with the threesome despite their odd habits and agreed to accompany Louis on the dinner cruise. Instead, he took her home to his mistress and slave where she was raped, tortured and killed before being dumped in a ditch.
Dorothy Maraglino

Louis was picked up on accident for illegal weapons charges. Jessica Lopez was found in a motel room attempting suicide. The authorities were called and when they entered the room, found a suicide letter detailing Brittany’s murder and Jessica's confession which stated she killed Brittany out of jealousy for her master, Perez. The three were soon arrested for her murder.

There was a whirlwind of weird activity during the next few
Jessica Lopez
months. The prosecution first said they were going for the death penalty but then decided not to. Dorothy was pregnant with Perez’s baby at the time, however. She gave birth and gave the baby to a woman she had never met because Louis told her too and then lost the baby when the woman reneged on her promise to bring the child to visit. The defendant’s got new attorneys and Maraglino decided to represent herself.

The trial was also rife with wierdness. Witnesses testified the Brittany and her friend began to have problems when she filed for divorce and the three accused of her murder decided she would be a good candidate for kidnapping and sex games because no one seemed to like her anymore. The suicide note left by Jessica described awful sexual torture and a strangulation all by her own hand but prosecutors could prove all three suspects were present at her death. Perez had posted messages on BDSM websites and message boards about how he owned slave women and the practices he put them through.

In December of 1014, the death penalty was taken off the table. Marine Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 48, Dorothy Maraglino, 39, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 27, face life without parole if convicted in the death of 22-year-old Brittany Killgore, Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza pronounced at a readiness conference Friday. Trial is set for June 1rst 2015.


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