Local News

Wife of pregnant Marine's killer won't be charged

Posted October 26, 2010

— The wife of a former Camp Lejeune Marine convicted of killing his pregnant comrade nearly three years ago won't be charged in the case, Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Tuesday.

A jury in August found Cesar Laurean guilty of the December 2007 slaying of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Laurean's attorney suggested during the trial that Christina Laurean could have killed Lauterbach, noting she had a motive and her DNA was found on a crowbar that prosecutors say was the murder weapon.

Hudson dismissed that theory in a news conference during which he outlined evidence in the case, some of which wasn't presented at trial.

"There is no credible evidence that Christina Laurean was involved in killing Maria Lauterbach," he said.

Lauterbach's charred remains were found in a fire pit behind the Laureans' Jacksonville home in January 2008. An autopsy determined that she had been beaten so severely with a blunt object that her skull split apart.

Prosecutors argued that Cesar Laurean killed her because he needed to salvage his military career after she accused him of rape. Although she later recanted and the accusation never was corroborated, the Marines were moving forward with an investigation of the case at the time of her death.

DA: Case closed in pregnant Marine's slaying

Hours before Lauterbach's remains were discovered, Cesar Laurean fled to Mexico, where he was arrested three months later. He kept in contact with his wife until his arrest, but the content of their discussions had never before been detailed.

Investigators checked e-mails between the two and found that Christina Laurean repeatedly declined to help her husband, Hudson said. She didn't provide Cesar Laurean with money or information about the manhunt, he said.

Hudson said he also read a journal Christina Laurean kept after her husband fled, and her entries vacillated between love for him and anger that he had abandoned her and their young daughter.

"She's a woman who's torn," he said. "Unless she's the greatest actress in the world, you can't help but see her as a victim herself."

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson Web only: No charges againt Laurean's wife in Lauterbach slaying

Cesar Laurean sent his wife a 10-page letter while on the lam blaming Mexican drug cartels for Lauterbach's death, Hudson said, comparing the story to a John Grisham novel.

"What he's done is destroy many lives," the prosecutor said.

Hudson is running for state Senate, and he said he was aware of criticism that the news conference was timed to generate publicity a week before the election.

He dismissed those claims, saying he was only trying to end the chatter in the blogosphere that Christina Laurean was involved in Lauterbach's death.

Lauterbach’s family has filed a wrongful death suit against Christina Laurean, claiming she knew about the murder and helped her husband build the fire pit.

Hudson said the impact of his news conference on the pending civil suit was irrelevant.

"I'm here as the district attorney," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wildcat Oct 27, 2010

    Good and now she can move on with her life.

  • CowboysFan Oct 27, 2010

    she did help him with money, i was the one that sent it CowboysFan

    Then you need to tried as an accessory. You better be care about what you say. The SBI could be standing on your doorstep next.
    jbarron4950------------its kinda my job dear, so investagate away! lol

  • Adelinthe Oct 26, 2010

    Based upon the evidence they did find, and did not, I don't see how they could win a case against her, and that's the bottom line here.

    Not what we think, or feel, or say.

    God bless.


  • dwallace9392 Oct 26, 2010

    Going to college does not make you smart,it basically find out what you know.You need to check your attitude.Everyone has a right to their opinion and I agree,she probably was involved.The investigators should have done a better job and the evidence would have been there to convict her.She knew and so does God! I say to the girl's family,do not worry!God knows what happened.She want get away,eventually her conscious will kill her or drive her crazy!!! Nevers fails.

  • jbarron4950 Oct 26, 2010

    she did help him with money, i was the one that sent it CowboysFan

    Then you need to tried as an accessory. You better be care about what you say. The SBI could be standing on your doorstep next.

  • samiam1244 Oct 26, 2010

    I think she should be charged with helping him. the law is so messed up. i guess Little Mrs Lauren is spotless . come on, she participated in the whole murder..they are husband and wife. he built a fire pit burned the woman's body. the lady was killed in the garage and the wife was on vacation or asleep for day's. hope she and he can live with themselves..

  • USAF20YR Ret Oct 26, 2010

    People are so ignorant of how the law works. The majority of these readers need to take Introduction To Law 101.

  • leannfan1 Oct 26, 2010

    It should have been 2 counts murder. She was very close to her due date and that poor baby could have survived outside of the womb, however, NC doesn't reconize an unborn baby as a "person", even if they are capable of sustaining life outside of the womb. Those laws need to be changed! May Maria and her son rest in peace.

  • JAT Oct 26, 2010

    And when are we going to read this "Grisham novel" the DA referred to??

  • JAT Oct 26, 2010

    I wonder what all those people who testified for him have to say now. There were several guys that said there was no way he did this.