Local News

NC high court won't hear appeal in pregnant Marine's murder

Posted August 29, 2012 5:09 p.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2012 5:24 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Supreme Court has declined hearing the appeal of a former Marine convicted of killing his pregnant comrade almost five years ago.

A jury found Cesar Laurean guilty in 2010 of first-degree murder in the December 2007 death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, who was nearly 8 months pregnant. He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The case attracted national attention after Laurean fled Jacksonville hours before Lauterbach's burned body was found buried in his backyard in January 2008. He was arrested three months later in a small town in western Mexico.

The state Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in May, ruling against defense arguments that the trial judge should have allowed jurors to hear evidence about Lauterbach's behavior – she accused Laurean of rape and then recanted – and allowed the jury to consider a second-degree murder charge.