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
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .