Former Marine Cesar Laurean Found Guilty of Pregnant Colleague Murder

Cesar Laurean guilty of killing Mauria Lauterbach, who was 8 months pregnant.

ByABC News
August 23, 2010, 5:31 PM

Aug. 23, 2010 — -- A North Carolina jury today found former Marine Cesar Laurean guilty of murdering his pregnant collegue, Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who had accused him of rape.

The jury deliberated just a few hours before returning the verdict.

The remains of Lauterbach , 20, and her unborn baby were found in January 2008 in Laurean's backyard firepit. Authorities determined that her body had been buried there since December 2007, when she first went missing from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina when she was eight months pregnant.

Laurean, 23, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to The Associated Press.

Mary Lauterbach, the victim's mother, read a statement in court saying to Laurean, "I feel so sorry for your daughter. She will have to live with the shame that her father is in prison for murdering not one but two people," the AP reported.

Laurean had also faced charges of robbing Lauterbach and of theft and attempted fraud for allegedly trying to use her ATM card to withdraw cash. Laurean was also convicted on the fraud and theft charges, according to the report.

An appeal by Laurean is expected.

Hours after authorities discovered Lauterbach's charred remains , it was also discovered that Laurean was on the run.

Sources familiar with the probe told ABC News at the time that Laurean boarded a bus in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and then rode to Houston.

In Houston, he allegedly boarded another bus and then traveled to San Luis Potosi, a state in central Mexico.

The massive three-month international manhunt eventually culminated in Lauren's capture in Mexico in April 2008. Mexican police on an anti-kidnapping operation reportedly spotted Laurean wandering the street and became suspicious when they realized he didn't speak Spanish very well.

He was taken into custody and later identified in part by his extensive tattoos, The Associated Press reported.

Laurean had been Lauterbach's senior officer at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina until she accused him of raping her. The Marines have said Laurean was never taken into custody because he had denied the charge and there was no evidence to support the accusation.