A former Marine was convicted Monday of murder in the death of a pregnant colleague who accused him of rape, an allegation that threatened to derail a military career that had earned him promotions and praise.
Cesar Laurean, 23, of Las Vegas, was found guilty of killing Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, of Vandalia, Ohio, in December 2007. The two were assigned to the same logistics unit at Camp Lejeune, the base in Jacksonville that is home to about 50,000 Marines. The trial was moved because of extensive pretrial publicity.
The former Marine corporal was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder.
The victim’s mother, Mary Lauterbach, read a tearful statement before the judge imposed the sentence. She told Laurean to remember the pain in his mother's face, and to think of the daughter who will have to live with the shame of a father who is a killer.
Cesar Laurean was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
One juror said the panel didn’t believe the theory presented by defense lawyer Dick McNeil that someone else, perhaps Laurean’s enraged wife, could have killed Lauterbach with a single swing of a crowbar that fractured the victim’s skull. The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours Monday before convicting Laurean.