Laurean to be held without bond

Cesar Laurean (Courtesy: Onslow County Sheriff's Office)
Cesar Laurean (Courtesy: Onslow County Sheriff's Office)
Laurean in court (4/20)
Laurean in court (4/20)

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

ONSLOW COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean made his first court appearance Monday, where a judge ruled he would be held without bond.

Laurean was led into Onslow County District court wearing a blank expression and a bullet proof vest under his orange jumpsuit.

During the brief appearance Monday, Judge Paul Hardison explained the charges: first degree murder, financial card transaction fraud, and obtaining property by false pretenses.

Hardison denied bond on the charge of killing Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach.  If he is convicted, Laurean faces life in prison without parole.

Laurean fled to Mexico just before being indicted for first degree murder in the 2007 killing of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach.

Prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table as part of the extradition agreement with Mexico.

"I am disappointed in the law we have a foreign country by this treaty we have entered into decades ago," said Dewey Hudson.  "They get to tell our courts what is proper punishment for crimes in our country."

Lauterbach's  remains were found buried in a fire pit behind the home Laurean shared with his wife and daughter in Jacksonville.

Under North Carolina law Laurean cannot be charged for the death of Lauterbach's unborn child, named Baby Gabriel.

"I have never in my whole life hears so many people who have made so many comments," said Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown.  "It seems to be their anger and their concerns are majorly concerned with the death of this unborn child."

With all of the local and national publicity surrounding the murder, defense attorney Richard McNeil believes it will be difficult for his client to get a fair trial.  He plans to petition to have it moved to another county.

McNeil doesn't expect the trial to begin until sometime next year.

Laurean was brought back into the United States Friday and flew into Wilmington International Airport just after 7:00 PM.  From there, FBI agents transported the Marine to Jacksonville where he was booked into the Onslow County Detention Center.

"Now that Cesar Laurean is coming back to the US, Onslow County can move forward with prosecution. He can no longer avoid answering the charges against him," said Owen Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI in a statement.

Laurean's next court date is scheduled for May 18, 2009.

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