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08/19/10 — The witnesses

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The witnesses

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on August 19, 2010 1:46 PM

Prosection Witness No. 41 -- FBI Special Agent Steve Kling: An agent assigned to find ex-Marine Cesar Laurean in Mexico, Kling told the court that he was charged with working with Mexican officials to capture the defendant after he fled across the border. He testified that while in Mexico, he does not have the power to arrest a fugitive, but often cooperates with the country's police and government to aprehend those sought by the United States, but worked with Mexican authorities. Kling then told the court that on April 9, 2008, he met with a six-man team provided to help him "look in the hills" for Laurean in a location about 10 hours from the U.S.-Mexico border. The group first went to a small town to locate the pay phone from which Laurean had contacted his family, and, then, a cyber cafe the fugitive also was believed to have used. Kling testified his team then established surveillance at the location, where they kept watch until 9:30 that evening. The following day, after added several NCIS agents to the team, Kling decided to become "more aggressive" in its search for Laurean -- questioning local shop owners about whether or not they had seen Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach's alleged killer. The team was told he was residing in one of the small towns nearby, so they traveled there and were waiting to speak with the "village elder" when they saw Laurean approaching. "At first we weren't sure it was him," Kling said. "He was a lot thinner ... had a beard, a baseball cap." But when the man got closer, they knew they had spotted their mark and gave chase. Moments later, Kling testified, Laurean was apprehended. "He lifted up his shirt sleeve and there was the tattoo, a very distinct phoenix tattoo," the agent said. Then Laurean started speaking in Spanish, saying, "What's going on? What's happening?" Kling told the court he replied, "Cesar, your tattoo doesn't lie. You're caught." After he was arrested, the defendant was ultimately taken to Mexico CIty, where he remained until formal extradition proceedings took place-- Laurean ended up in Miami where he was turned over to FBI and North Carolina lawmen. During cross-examination, McNeil only asked that Kling confirm that he received information about Laurean's whereabouts via phone calls and the Internet sent to Jacksonville from the pay phone and cyber cafe in that Mexican town.

Prosection Witness No. 41 -- FBI Special Agent Steve Kling: An agent assigned to find ex-Marine Cesar Laurean in Mexico, Kling told the court that he was charged with working with Mexican officials to capture the defendant after he fled across the border. He testified that while in Mexico, he does not have the power to arrest a fugitive, but often cooperates with the country's police and government to aprehend those sought by the United States, but worked with Mexican authorities. Kling then told the court that on April 9, 2008, he met with a six-man team provided to help him "look in the hills" for Laurean in a location about 10 hours from the U.S.-Mexico border. The group first went to a small town to locate the pay phone from which Laurean had contacted his family, and, then, a cyber cafe the fugitive also was believed to have used. Kling testified his team then established surveillance at the location, where they kept watch until 9:30 that evening. The following day, after added several NCIS agents to the team, Kling decided to become "more aggressive" in its search for Laurean -- questioning local shop owners about whether or not they had seen Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach's alleged killer. The team was told he was residing in one of the small towns nearby, so they traveled there and were waiting to speak with the "village elder" when they saw Laurean approaching. "At first we weren't sure it was him," Kling said. "He was a lot thinner ... had a beard, a baseball cap." But when the man got closer, they knew they had spotted their mark and gave chase. Moments later, Kling testified, Laurean was apprehended. "He lifted up his shirt sleeve and there was the tattoo, a very distinct phoenix tattoo," the agent said. Then Laurean started speaking in Spanish, saying, "What's going on? What's happening?" Kling told the court he replied, "Cesar, your tattoo doesn't lie. You're caught." After he was arrested, the defendant was ultimately taken to Mexico CIty, where he remained until formal extradition proceedings took place-- Laurean ended up in Miami where he was turned over to FBI and North Carolina lawmen. During cross-examination, McNeil only asked that Kling confirm that he received information about Laurean's whereabouts via phone calls and the Internet sent to Jacksonville from the pay phone and cyber cafe in that Mexican town.

Defense Witness No. 1 -- Cpl. Vivian Martinez: A Camp Lejeune Marine who once lived with Ms. Lauterbach, Cpl. Martinez told the court she was the victim's roommate for "four or five months" before Ms. Lauterbach moved off base after learning she was pregnant. She testified Ms. Lauterbach told her she was unsure whether or not to keep the baby and that she believed Laurean was the father of the child. Ms. Martinez then told the court she never saw the victim and defendant together.

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