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Three sex-cult members are convicted of murdering Marine wife

Three members of a reported "master-slave" sex cult were convicted Wednesday of murdering a young Marine wife from Fallbrook.

Former Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 49, Dorothy Grace Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, were convicted of torturing and murdering Brittany Killgore, 22.

A jury in the San Diego County Superior Court in Vista deliberated for three days before finding all three guilty of first-degree murder. 

Each defendant had an attorney, and each attorney asserted his client was not present during the killing. Now, each of the three faces a possible life sentence when sentenced Nov. 19.

The trio killed Killgore "for their own sadistic pleasure," Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Espinoza had told jurors.

Killgore was not a part of the cult, which enjoyed bondage, whipping, spanking, cutting, sadism and masochism, Espinoza said.

Without knowing the three had a "sex dungeon" in their rented home, Killgore had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez in exchange for his helping her move out of her Fallbrook apartment, prosecutors said. 

Killgore had just filed for divorce from her husband, who was deployed to Afghanistan, when she disappeared after the outing with Perez.

According to trial testimony and court documents, Killgore's nude body was found in a ravine in southern Riverside County four days after she was reported missing on April 13, 2012. She had been strangled, possibly with a rope.

Perez had boasted that he planned to hold a sadomasochism session that weekend, according to evidence submitted during the preliminary hearing.

Within 13 minutes of getting into Perez's truck, Killgore reportedly texted a friend, "Help." Moments later, the friend texted back, "Brittany are u okay I am freaking out here."

Prosecutors asserted that Perez took Killgore to his Fallbrook home and texted Lopez and Maraglino to join him.

In the house, investigators found "sex apparatuses, toys, and a sex dungeon," according to a search warrant. Among the items found were ropes, whips, a Taser, a nightstick and spiked gloves.

Perez and the victim's husband, Cpl. Cory Killgore, both were assigned to Camp Pendleton.

Perez was on active duty when he was arrested; he no longer is in the Marine Corps. During the trial, prosecutors submitted a plastic sheet taken from Perez's car that experts said had Brittany Killgore's blood on it.

After the verdicts were read, Michelle Wrest, Brittany Killgore's mother, told reporters outside court that her daughter was "a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and unfortunately she ran across people that were not good, who were monsters."

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