(SAN DIEGO) — The suspect in the killing of Marine wife Brittany Killgore entered a not-guilty plea in court Thursday and was ordered to be held on $3 million bail.
Jessica Lopez, 25, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday in the death of Brittany Killgore, 22, of Fallbrook, Calif. Killgore’s body was found dumped near Lake Skinner in Riverside County, Calif., the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.
Lopez was arrested at a Ramada Inn in San Diego Tuesday and then treated for an undisclosed medical condition at a hospital before she was taken into custody.
Key to the case was an apparent suicide note at the arrest scene that detailed the 22-year-old Killgore’s fate and the location of her body, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV in San Diego.
Darryl Wrest, Killgore’s father, said the family was “devastated and ask to be left alone to grieve at this time.”
“Brittany is my daughter. I am here to speak for Brittany as her voice was taken from her. Brittany was a beautiful, kind, caring, young woman trying to find her way in this world. Family and friends love and miss Brittany beyond words. Brittany, was a victim, she did nothing wrong,” Wrest said in a statement issued at an afternoon news conference. “There have been stories and comments made from people who do not know my daughter and have their own agendas or opinions. These stories have absolutely no basis in fact. Please leave my daughter in peace, she does not deserve to be a victim of lies and innuendo anymore than she deserved to be murdered.”
According to legal records, Lopez once lived with Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, who is considered a person of interest in the case and is behind bars on unrelated charges. Police believe the 45-year-old Marine may have been the last person to see Killgore alive.
Perez is being investigated and has not been cooperative in his interview, according to Lt. Larry Nesbit of the San Diego Sheriff’s Office.
The Marine was arraigned Wednesday on an unrelated charge of possession of an AR-15 assault rifle. He is being held on $500,000 bail and has not been charged in Killgore’s murder.
Authorities have not commented on the connection between Killgore, Lopez and Perez.
Killgore told friends she was going to spend Friday evening in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. However, authorities believe she never made it. Her cellphone was recovered in the area by San Diego trolley security, triggering an investigation.
Killgore filed for a divorce from her husband, Cory Killgore, also 22, just days before she disappeared Friday evening. Cory Killgore was returning from Afghanistan this week following the news of his wife’s disappearance.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire