Laurean Appealing Murder Conviction

Convicted killer Cesar Laurean will appeal his conviction Wednesday in a Raleigh courtroom.

Laurean is the former Camp Lejuene marine who is currently serving a life sentence in Elizabeth City for the 2007 murder of his pregnant marine comrade, Maria Lauterbach. His lawyers are appealing his conviction, and they say the court should have allowed the jury to consider a lesser charge than murder.

Laurean was convicted in 2010 of killing Lauterbach with a crowbar and burying her burned remains in the backyard of his off-base home.

In October 2011, the Pentagon's Inspector General criticized Camp Lejeune officials for inadequate and incomplete handling of a rape claim made by Lauterbach against Laurean.

The Marine Corps responded by saying there were administrative errors in handling Lauterbach's complaint, but that command leaders responded appropriately overall.

Lauterbach's mother has filed a wrongful death suit agaisnt Laurean and his now ex-wife Cpl. Christina Smith. It has been stayed until the outcome of Laurean's murder conviction appeal is known.

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