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New Ethen's Law Could Have Impacted Laurean Case

By: Dave Jordan/Carly Swain
By: Dave Jordan/Carly Swain

A new law takes effect Thursday that would have allowed prosecutors to pursue two murder charges against Cesar Laurean in the death of Maria Lauterbach if it had been on the books at the time.

Ethen's Law allows prosecutors to file murder charges if an unborn child dies as a result of an assault on the mother.

Onslow County District Attorney Ernie Lee says if NC would have had this law when Lauterbach was murdered, he says it would have been a game changer. Lee says, "We could have gotten more because as you recall- Maria Lauterbach was almost due to deliver the child-- she was over eight months pregnant."

Laurean was convicted of killing Lauterbach but did not face charges in the death of her unborn child.

Ethen's Law is named for the unborn child of Jenna Nielsen-- a woman who was stabbed to death in 2007 while she was restocking newspapers outside a Raleigh convenience store.


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