Woman to be arraigned in Killgore murder case

VISTA (CNS) – A woman arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with
the death of a 22-year-old North County military wife is scheduled to be
arraigned at the Vista courthouse Thursday.

Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, was arrested earlier this week in the death of
Brittany Killgore and is scheduled to make an initial court appearance early
this afternoon, when she will be asked how she pleads to first-degree murder.

A body found Tuesday afternoon near Temecula, north of Lake Skinner in
Riverside County, was positively identified Wednesday as that of Killgore, who
disappeared Friday. Investigators had gone to the remote spot based on leads
stemming from the arrest of Lopez, said sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser.

Lopez was taken into custody late Tuesday morning at a Point Loma motel
on suspicion of murder, according to Fraser, who declined to disclose her
suspected role in the slaying. She was booked into Las Colinas women's jail in
Santee without bail late Tuesday night after being treated at a hospital for
cuts suffered in an apparent suicide attempt.

Killgore vanished after meeting up with Staff Sgt. Louis Ray Perez, 45,
a Camp Pendleton-based Marine who was subsequently arrested on weapon-theft
charges, according to investigators.

Perez, a 16-year veteran assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing,
appeared in court Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of possession of
stolen property and illegal possession of an assault rifle. But he also is
being “actively investigated” in connection with the Killgore case, Fraser

His bail was kept high — $500,000 — with the judge agreeing Wednesday
that Perez was a flight risk. He is due back in court for a readiness
conference April 26 and a preliminary hearing on May 17. He faces up to three
years and eight months behind bars if convicted on the weapons charges.

Authorities have not said how Lopez knew Killgore. According to U-T San
Diego, public records showed Lopez and Perez once lived in the same Fallbrook
apartment, about a half-mile from the apartment Killgore shared with her

A neighbor told the newspaper that Lopez and a female roommate live in
same Fallbrook apartment she once shared with Perez and that he is often seen

The Lopez family released a statement through an attorney Wednesday.

“We pray for the family of Brittany Killgore and ask that the Lord
comfort them during their time of grief and anguish. We ask that you pray for
all those impacted by this tragic situation, including our family,” the
statement said.

Killgore's grandmother, Cheryl Coble of Farmington, Mo., told a hometown
newspaper the victim's mother notified San Diego law enforcement about her
daughter's disappearance after receiving a call from a stranger who found
Killgore's cell phone in the downtown Gaslamp District.

On the night of her disappearance, she was supposed to have gone out
with Perez and his girlfriend to a dinner cruise, but it was unclear if the
plan came together, Coble told the Daily Journal of Park Hills, Mo. The
girlfriend — it was not immediately clear if she was referring to Lopez —
apparently backed out at the last minute, she added.

Killgore's father, Darryl Wreast, and grandfather flew to Southern
California this week and handed out photos and information about her, Coble

Killgore, a former Missouri resident, had separated from her husband and
shipped all her belongings to her parents' home in Pennsylvania, with plans
to travel there this week to move back in with them, Coble told the newspaper.

Killgore's family had lived in Rolla, Mo., before relocating to
Pennsylvania last fall. Killgore had been looking forward to reuniting with her
family, her grandmother said.

“She just wanted to be at her parents' house and just wanted to sit and
hold her new niece,” Coble told the Daily Journal.

Killgore filed for divorce last week, according to court records. Marine
Corps officials agreed to send her husband, Cory, a Pendleton-based Marine,
home from Afghanistan following her disappearance. It was unclear when he would
return to San Diego County.

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