Laurean Makes First Court Appearance

Accused killer Cesar Laurean made a brief court appearance in Onslow County courthouse today and will be held without bond.

Laurean went before District Judge Paul Hardison in a brief first appearance just before noon.

Laurean, wearing a bullet proof vest, was in the courtroom for less than three minutes.

Laurean is charged with the murder of pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach and her unborn son. He also faces finiacial transaction card theft, robbery, and obtaining property by false pretense.

The judge denied Laurean bond on the murder charge, and set a 5 thousand dollar bond on other charges. Laurean's attorney Dick McNeil, met with him this weekend in jail, as did his wife Christina.

District Attorney Dewey Hudson says the Marine's next court appearance in May 18th. The judge ordered Laurean held without bond.

Laurean's defense attorney says he may seek to move the trial.

Dick McNeil said Monday that media coverage "has been extensive, especially locally" in the case against 22-year-old Laurean.

McNeil said he expects to get 6,000 pages of case documents this week. He said he doesn't expect a trial until next year.


Camp Lejeune Marine Cesar Laurean is at the jail in the Onslow County city of Jacksonville. He is awaiting Monday's court appearance in the murder of pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach in December 2007.

Laurean's plane landed at Wilmington International Airport just after 7 p.m. Friday. He was booked into the Onslow County Detention Center around 9 p.m. Friday and is being held without bond.

According to District Attorney Dewey Hudson, the court appearance should happen some time around noon. A defendant charged with a felony must be brought to a district court judge within 96 hours after the defendant is taken into custody (or at the first regular county district court session.)

According to Hudson, this is what happens in a first court appearance: "During the first appearance the District Court Judge; warns the defendant of the right against self incrimination; ensures the defendant’s right to counsel; reviews the charging documents to determine the sufficiency of the charge; informs the defendant of the charges against him; ensures that the defendant or his counsel has been furnished a copy of the charging documents; and determines or reviews the defendant's eligibility for pre-trial release."

Hudson also says there will be a press conference after the first appearance "concerning any scheduling issues regarding the trial of the case against Mr. Laurean." WITN will cover it, as well as all the activities surrounding Monday's court action.

Laurean is charged with: first degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, obtaining property by false pretenses, financial transaction card theft and financial transaction card fraud.



Laurean returned to the U.S. Friday morning. Onslow County officials say his first court appearance will be Monday morning.

Laurean fled the United States in January of 2008 and was captured in central Mexico in April 2008, where he fought extradition.

He's charged with murdering Lauterbach and burying the pregnant Marine in his backyard.

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WITN has confirmed from officials Cesar Laurean is in the United States and is expected at the Onslow County Courthouse Monday for a first court appearance.

WITN's NBC sister station WECT-TV in Wilmington is reporting Laurean will arrive at the airport there after 7 p.m. Friday for transport to Onslow County. Airport security has been increased, and WECT reports Laurean will be picked up directly off the plane by FBI representatives.

FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said 22-year-old Cpl. Cesar Laurean arrived in the U.S. on Friday to face murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said he expected Laurean to arrive at the local jail Friday night.

Defense attorney Dick McNeil said he hasn't been contracted by federal officials.

WITN will have team coverage Monday in Jacksonville starting on WITN News at Sunrise, and we'll bring you continuing updates today and throughout the weekend on witn.com and WITN-TV.



District Attorney Dewey Hudson will not discuss travel plans but said late Friday morning the accused killer is "en route" to the United States.

Laurean lost his extradition fight in Mexico and will soon face charges for the December 2007 murder of Maria Lauterbach.

One report indicated Laurean was flown into Florida this morning before flying to Charlotte, North Carolina later today.

The FBI and other officials originally reported Laurean would be taken to Houston, Texas.

WITN News spoke with District Attorney Dewey Hudson just after 11:00 a.m. Friday. He said in his last discussion with federal authorities, Laurean was "en route" to America.

Hudson said they are working out some security and legal issues, and he would not discuss the travel plans.

We'll continue to keep you updated on today's developments here on witn.com and on WITN News starting at 5:00 p.m.



The FBI says accused murderer Cesar Laurean will be back in the United States on Friday.

The Camp Lejeune Marine, accused of killing fellow Marine Maria Lauterbach in December of 2007, has been in a Mexican prison for one year fighting extradition.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson says Laurean will be first brought to Houston, Texas where he will go before either a federal or state judge.

Laurean still could fight extradition to North Carolina and Hudson says they already are working on the necessary paperwork in case he does. If that happens, Laurean's return could be delayed for up to 30 days.

"Until he is back, he is not back. I want to see him in Onslow County court," Hudson told WITN News.

Once he is back in Onslow County, Laurean will appear before a district court judge and the district attorney says no matter what happens they are ready for trial this fall.

"We're hoping for the best, preparing for the worst and looking at all things that could possibly occur," says Hudson.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown says Cesar Laurean will be treated just like any other inmate in his jail that is facing murder charges.

In a news release today the sheriff says his jail houses 12 other murder suspects awaiting trial. Brown says Laurean and his family will receive the same professional treatment from his jail staff as given to all the other inmates and their families.

Meanwhile, Maria Lauterbach's father will likely be in Iraq when Laurean is brought to trial.

Beginning next week, Master Sgt. Victor Lauterbach is scheduled to deploy for four months with a squadron that handles aircraft cargo.

Lauterbach's mother, Mary Lauterbach, says she intends to attend the trial of Laurean even if her husband is away.


WITN News has learned that accused killer Cesar Laurean will return to the United States later this week.

That information coming from District Attorney Dewey Hudson.

The Camp Lejeune Marine is accused of killing fellow Marine Maria Lauterbach and burying her in his backyard. Laurean was arrested in his native Mexico after six months on the run, but has fought his return to Onslow County to face charges.

Hudson says military officials told him that Laurean's appeal has been denied by a Mexican court.

The district attorney says Laurean will first be sent to Houston and at this point he doesn't know when the murder suspect will be back in Onslow County for arraignment.

Stay with WITN News and witn.com for more on this developing story.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by me on Apr 22, 2009 at 12:16 PM
    I think his wife killed her and he is covering it up.Think about it,if you were his wife wouldn't you ask why he painted the walls or why there is a hole(dirt) in the back yard that should not be there.I think he ran so they would believe he did it (to protect his wife and baby)
  • by Wondering Location: Out of Town on Apr 21, 2009 at 07:40 AM
    I believe that there is much more to this story that we still don't know. Maybe Cesar killed Maria in self defense. He didn't believe that LE would believe him because of Maria's "rape" accusation, so he panicked and tried to hide the body. Why was she running away to El Paso? Why did she go to the Laurean home alone, if she claimed he previously raped her? There were MapQuest directions in her car to his house, so I assume that she initiated the visit.
  • by me Location: nc on Apr 21, 2009 at 04:41 AM
    I still think he did not do it,think about it if you were in the same situation who would you cover for???
  • by Eeeeks Location: Greenville on Apr 20, 2009 at 07:53 PM
    To Oh Wow and Alpha Female...I agree that the people to feel for are those that didn't deserve to be hurt (the wife, the unborn baby and the 2 year old). However, are we condoning the fact that he killed someone? Sure she was in the wrong, as was he. Did she deserve to have her life taken for it? I'm perplexed by the mind of people who think like this. Sure she may not have deserved the white picket fence etc but... she did not deserve such a brutal death. He's a very sick man. If anyone deserves to die for something - it's him.
  • by oh wow Location: yep on Apr 20, 2009 at 12:41 PM
    for once i agree with alpha female!! i too haven't had sympathy at all for maria lauterbach, only her unborn baby. She was sleeping with a married man! Did you all miss that point? Alpha said it perfectly, the only victims are Ms. Lauren, their 2 year old child, and the baby that was murdered!
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Apr 20, 2009 at 12:18 PM
    This was a national case. Where would you like for this case to be held? I have an idea...central prison.
  • by Southergal Location: eastern nc on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:51 AM
    Does the defense attorney really think that there is anywhere in this world that he can move this trial that there has not been a lot of media coverage? This case was broadcasted all over the world when Laurean decided to make the LE go on a worldwide manhunt for him. I feel that he could get a fair trial in Onslow county for the simple fact there is a lot of people who does not feel that his wife is totally innocent so they are really wondering how played what part in this horrible crime. I know that the DA would have to a lot of evidence clearing his wife before they could convince me that he did the actual murder because I really felt like she was the one who did and that he helped her cover it up and he ran to make it look like it was all him. I just hope that whoever was involved in this horrible crime pays dearly for it rather it be one person or four people. May God Bless the Lauterbach family.
  • by J Location: Coastline NC on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:20 AM
    Video Does not work.
  • by Mother Location: Washington on Apr 20, 2009 at 07:47 AM
    It's about time.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on Apr 19, 2009 at 03:33 PM
    ALPHA, I get the feeling you are saying she should have died for her transgression. I don't think thats what you ment. Tell me its not true.
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