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Woman pleads not guilty in Marine wife's slaying, held on $3 million bail

San Diego County Sheriff via AP

Brittany Dawn Killgore, whose body was identified Wednesday.

Updated at 6:15 p.m. EDT: SAN DIEGO -- A 25-year-old woman charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of a Camp Pendleton Marine's wife pleaded not guilty Thursday and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $3 million bail.

Jessica Lynn Lopez was arraigned Thursday at San Diego County’s Vista Superior Court on charges involving what prosecutors called “homicidal violence” against Brittany Dawn Killgore, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.


Also Thursday afternoon, Killgore's father, Darryl Wrest, who lives in Pennsylvania, read an emotional statement at the San Diego County Sheriff's headquarters in Kearny Mesa, the North County Times reported.

"I am here to speak for Brittany, as her voice was taken from her,” Wrest said. "Brittney was a victim, she did nothing wrong," Wrest said. "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 any more than she deserved to be murdered.”

Lopez was arrested Tuesday, hours before Killgore’s body was found in a remote area of neighboring Riverside County.

Authorities found Lopez in a Loma Linda motel room with self-inflicted cuts. Prosecutors said Lopez had left a suicide note that led investigators to Killgore’s body.

Earlier Thursday, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said at a news conference that Lopez could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.

Dumanis refused to discuss facts or evidence in what she called the "ongoing case."

She said another Marine, Louis Ray Perez, 45, was arraigned Wednesday on a separate stolen weapons charge and remains a person of interest in the Killgore killing. Additional charges are possible, she said.

"This case has shaken many in San Diego County and the military community," she said.

Dumanis said answers about the killing will come as the case makes its way through the criminal justice system.

Killgore was reported missing Saturday. Her body was found in a rural part of neighboring Riverside County.

Her husband, Cory Killgore, is based at Camp Pendleton but has been deployed to Afghanistan.

San Diego officials announce that murder charges have been filed against Jessica Lynn Lopez, and that two others have been arrested in connection with the death of Brittany Killgore.

Earlier story: Coroner says body of woman is that of Brittany Killgore, missing wife of Marine

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