Brittany Killgore Sent Text Message ‘Help’ Before Her Murder
(SAN DIEGO) -- Blood and a weapon police believe was used to kill Brittany Killgore were found in the car of a suspect in the marine wife's murder, prosecutors said.
At a plea hearing Thursday, Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 45, pleaded not guilty to a first degree murder charge in the slaying of the 22-year-old who lived in Fallbrook, Calif. Perez was in jail on an unrelated charge of possession of an AR-15 assault rifle at the time of his arrest for murder.
Chilling details of the crime emerged at Perez' hearing: Killgore sent a text message to a friend the night she disappeared that said "help," Deputy District Attorney Patrick Espinoza said.
Killgore, 22, of Fallbrook, Calif., disappeared April 13, after telling friends she was going out in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. Her body was found four days later, dumped near Lake Skinner in Riverside County, Calif.
The San Diego County District Attorney's office has not released the manner in which Killgore was killed. They also have not said what type of weapon police believe was used to kill her.
Twenty-five-year-old Jessica Lopez, who once lived with Perez, has also been charged with first degree murder in Killgore's death. She entered a not guilty plea in court April 19, and is held on $3 million bail, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.
Key to the case was an apparent suicide note found in Lopez's hotel room at the time of her arrest that detailed Killgore's fate and the location of her body, prosecutors said.
The content of that note has been kept under seal, per judge Kimberlee Lagotta's order, ABC News' San Diego affiliate reported.
Authorities have not commented on the connection between Killgore, Lopez and Perez. Police said they believed Perez was the last person to see Killgore and he became a person of interest shortly after Killgore was reported missing.
Killgore filed for a divorce from her husband, Cory Killgore, also 22, just days before she disappeared. Cory Killgore returned from Afghanistan last week following the news of his wife's disappearance.
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