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08/16/10 — Testimony continues in Laurean murder trial

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Testimony continues in Laurean murder trial

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on August 16, 2010 2:12 PM

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News-Argus/KENNETH FINE

Mary Lauterbach cries during the murder trial of Former Camp Lejeune Marine Cesar Laurean in Wayne Wayne County Superior Court. Laurean is on trial for the murder of Mary Lauterbach's daughter, Maria.

Testimony in the trial of an ex-Marine charged with the murder of a pregnant comrade was expected to continue today in Wayne County Superior Court.

Cesar Laurean accused of the first-degree murder of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach.

Laurean faces life in prison if convicted. Mexican authorities extradited him upon the condition that U.S. prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Special Agent Matthew Clifton, a State Bureau of Investigation crime scene investigator, is expected to continue testimony today. Clifton conducted the search of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach's vehicle after it was found by an Onslow County Sheriff's deputy.

Ms. Lauterbach's body was found burned and buried in Laurean's back yard in early 2008. She had disappeared in late 2007.

Prosecutors say they plan to call Ms. Lauterbach's mother to the stand this week. Since her daughter's death, Mary Lauterbach has pushed the Pentagon to allow troops who allege sexual assault to transfer out of their unit.

Prosecutor Dewey Hudson is expected to wrap up his case midweek. Laurean's attorney will then call defense witnesses.

The trial, which started last week, was moved from Onslow County because of pre-trial publicity.