Local News

Trial in pregnant Marine's slaying set for Goldsboro

Posted January 25, 2010 3:29 p.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2010 3:57 p.m. EST

— A former Marine charged in the death of a pregnant comrade will be tried in Goldsboro in June, officials said Monday.

Cpl. Cesar Laurean is charged with first-degree murder in the December 2007 death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach while both 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.

Defense attorney Dick McNeil asked to have the murder trial moved out of Onslow County, saying local anger over the case and extensive publicity would jeopardize Laurean's right to impartial jurors and a fair trial.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson didn't object to the move and said he was confident that Wayne County jurors could provide a fair verdict.

The trial is expected to begin the week of June 28 last three to four weeks.

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.

Laurean fled the country hours before authorities found her body, leaving behind a note claiming that Lauterbach had killed herself and that he buried her in fear. Following an international manhunt, Laurean was arrested in Mexico in April 2008. He was extradited to North Carolina last spring, only after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against him.

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.