Local News

Accused Marine's attorney asks for change of venue

Posted September 30, 2009 3:33 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2009 6:09 p.m. EDT

— The attorney for a former Marine charged in the death of a pregnant comrade has asked that the upcoming trial be moved out of Onslow County.

Cpl. Cesar Laurean is charged with first-degree murder in the December 2007 death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach while they were stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Her charred remains were found in a shallow grave behind the Jacksonville home Laurean shared with his wife and young daughter. Laurean fled to Mexico, where he was arrested there three months later.

In a bond hearing in April, Laurean's attorney, Dick McNeil, cited comments about local anger over the case as evidence that extensive publicity surrounding the case would jeopardize Laurean's right to impartial jurors and a fair trial.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson agreed not to seek the death penalty against Laurean to secure his extradition from Mexico.

Lauterbach, 20, told military authorities that Laurean raped her in April 2007. She was seven months pregnant at the time of her death. A DNA test showed that Laurean was not the father of her child.

In addition to murder, Laurean faces charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon, financial transaction card theft, attempted financial transaction card fraud and obtaining property by false pretenses. Those charges stem from the theft of Lauterbach's bank card, which was later used to withdraw money.