A jury found ex-marine Cesar Laurean guilty of first degree murder yesterday in the 2007 death of his colleague, Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant at the time. He was sentenced to life in prison. Lauterbach's body was found buried in Laurean's backyard.
Prior to her death, Lauterbach had reported that Laurean, her senior officer at Camp Lejune in North Carolina, raped her. Lauterbach later recanted the rape accusations, but a hearing regarding the alleged incident was scheduled just a few weeks prior to her disappearance, according to CNN. District Attorney Dewey Hudson argued that Laurean was motivated to kill Lauterbach because, "He was a married man. He was her boss. [And] he had sex with her," according to the Associated Press.
The jury deliberated for just three hours before reaching a verdict. They also found him guilty of both fraud and theft because he took Lauterbach's ATM card and tried to use it to procure cash. Juror Brenda Peters told the Associated Press, "everything pointed to the fact that he is the one who did this crime. We went back over every speck of evidence that there was, piece by piece. That's how we reached our verdict."
Media Resources: CNN 8/24/10; Associated Press 8/23/10