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DA: Accused Marine might remain in Mexico

Posted October 13, 2008

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— A Camp Lejeune Marine accused of killing a pregnant comrade last year might never be extradited from Mexico to face criminal charges in the case, Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Monday.

Cpl. Cesar Laurean is charged with first-degree murder in the December death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, whose charred remains were found in January in a shallow grave behind Laurean's Jacksonville home. Lauterbach was seven months' pregnant at the time of her death.

Laurean fled Jacksonville on Jan. 11, hours before Lauterbach's body was found, and was arrested in April in a small town in western Mexico after an international manhunt.

Hudson reluctantly agreed months ago not to seek the death penalty against Laurean if he were apprehended in Mexico. For decades, Mexico has resisted extraditing people to the U.S. if they could face capital punishment.

Laurean has appealed a Mexican court's September ruling to send him to the U.S. One of the arguments presented by his Mexican attorneys is that a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole violates the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Mexico, according to Dick McNeil, Laurean's attorney in North Carolina.

Hudson said such an argument would tie his hands as far as prosecuting Laurean.

"It's not like I can decide some other punishment," he said. "Those (death and life without parole) are the only two punishments (for first-degree murder), so consequently, if that is true, then I am not certain what I can do."

"A lot of questions are being raised, (but) not too many answers," McNeil said, noting Laurean's Mexican attorneys aren't keeping him informed of what's happening. "I don't know how (prosecutors) would get around that, if it's at all possible to get around it."

Laurean left behind a note when he fled in January in which he claimed Lauterbach had committed suicide and that he had buried her out of fear.

An autopsy later determined that Lauterbach had been beaten to death, and authorities said they found traces of blood inside Laurean's home.

McNeil has said Laurean continues to maintain his innocence in Lauterbach's death, but he said he had no idea why he won't return to Onslow County to fight the charges at trial.

"That's something I can't really divulge because I am not privy to it," he said.

Hudson said the appeal of the extradition order could take up to two years, and he said his biggest fear is that Laurean may never be sent back to face charges.

"Certainly, it would be ridiculous to think that, if they don't allow extradition, that they're just going to allow him out of jail in Mexico to wander and be a free person," he said. "I would hope that's not what will happen, but I'm not certain of that."

Lt. Col. Curtis Hill, spokesman for Camp Lejeune, said the military has no pending charges against Laurean and is letting the civilian authorities in Onslow County handle the case.

53 Comments

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  • teacher-mom Oct 14, 2008

    Good. That will save money on a trial and prison. I'll bet he is back in 6 months.

  • OSX Oct 14, 2008

    What is Mexico thinking? Ok, were not going to kill him but that isn't good enough. Well, fine, go ahead and keep him. Let him be free in your country and Good Luck. Their response would be "we don't want to do that because he might kill somebody". At this point, I think we should just do nothing and wait it out. Makes me wonder what happens to you if you kill somebody in Mexico.

  • infamousrider Oct 14, 2008

    Just be patient.. He'll cross over the border again..the statue of limitations for 1st degree murder are endless.

  • sayitoutloud Oct 14, 2008

    Is he in Jail in Mexico, or is he walking scott free. This is my theory...so dont bash me too hard. We all know he has family down there maybe they have paid off the mexican government to NOT return him to America. Why else would they not send him. What has he done for Mexico that they are protecting him so hard? Something just doesnt fly with this. Can we find out more???

  • twc Oct 14, 2008

    He hasn't committed a crime in Mexico so I guess he will be allowed to run free! And be a role model for those seeking to escape justice across the border.

    Maybe we should exile our sex offenders to Mexico after they serve their time.

  • dcatz Oct 14, 2008

    How much longer are we going to let Mexico spit on us before we take action?

    Between Mexican drug-runners smuggling drugs into this country and polluting our forest, mexican military troops crossing our border and invading our control, the stream of illegals who degrade the quality of life and steal jobs from the American people and now harboring criminals, Mexico has committed numerous acts of aggression against this country.

    It's time to send the military in to retrieve the killer. It's time to cut off all trade and close the borders with Mexico.

  • dwntwnboy Oct 14, 2008

    you beat me to it weedy!!

  • alx Oct 14, 2008

    looks like he will get away with murder

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Oct 14, 2008

    Is destroying our Constitution and Court System just in vogue these last 8 years? Because, this guy is only ALLEGED to have committed this crime and is currently INNOCENT.

    And, many of these same people here are insisting that we invade YET ANOTHER foreign country. Unbelievable. Have you learned nothing?

    And if you haven't noticed, Mexico, like Germany, India or Pakistan, is...ummmm...NOT the United States. They don't always act like us, have the same laws, religion or, gasp, speak the same language. Get used to it. Work within our treaties or risk even more strained diplomatic relations including alienation of alliance status.

  • WRALSPORTSFANSUXS Oct 14, 2008

    Time to call Dog The bounty hunter!

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