Thursday, April 16, 2009
January 2008, Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child’s charred remains were found buried in a fire pit in Cesar Laurean’s backyard.
Laurean, who has dual citizenship, led police on a three-month manhunt after fleeing to Mexico. He has been held in a Mexican prison for a year while fighting extradition to the US. He will be returned to the US this week.
Laurean and Lauterbach had worked together at Camp Lejeune. Lauterbach had accused him of rape. Before her disappearance in December 2007, military officials said they planned to investigate the allegation.
Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson was forced to agree not to seek the death penalty in order for Mexico to consider returning Laurean.
Laurean is expected to be processed in state court in Houston, where he could waive extradition to North Carolina or fight it. Should Laurean decide to fight extradition, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue would have to request that Texas return him and that could take up to a week.
Defense attorney Dick McNeil said he expects his client to plead not guilty, but he has no access to Laurean while US and Mexican authorities work out the extradition.
"I can tell you we're not pleading guilty. If he does, it's life without parole," said McNeil.