Hudson: Wife cooperated with Laurean investigation
By Dennis Hill
Published in News on October 26, 2010 1:46 PM
CLINTON -- Prosecutor Dewey Hudson today released documents supporting his decision not to pursue charges against the wife of ex-Marine Cesar Laurean, who was convicted in Wayne County Superior Court in August of murdering a pregnant Marine in 2007.
The trial was moved to Wayne because of pre-trial publicity in Onslow County. Since the trial, Hudson's office has been questioned as to why charges against Mrs. Laurean were not pursued. She refused to testify at the trial.
At a press conference shortly after noon, Hudson said that after an intense investigation he determined that Christina Laurean was neither involved in the murder of Maria Lauterbach nor did she help her husband avoid arrest.
Cesar Laurean escaped to Mexico but was eventually captured there and extradited to the United States.
Hudson said today that Mrs. Laurean cooperated with investigators from the time that they first contacted the couple about Ms. Lauterbach's disappearance.
She gave authorities letters her husband had left behind describing what he said occurred the night Ms. Lauterbach was killed. One note said Ms. Lauterbach killed herself and that he panicked and buried her in his yard. In the other, he told her he was sorry he got her and their child involved.
Mrs. Laurean also allowed investigators to search her home, gave them articles of her husband's clothing and permitted them to dig in her backyard, where they found Ms. Lauterbach's body.
She also passed a polygraph test confirming her statements to law enforcement and consented to have DNA samples taken from her and her daughter.
When Laurean tried to contact his wife from Mexico, her responses in no way helped him out, Hudson said.
"Specifically, there was no evidence that Christina provided any food, shelter, clothing or money to Cesar Laurean or provided any helpful information to him about the investigation," Hudson said, adding that "Christina agreed to assist the investigators with acquiring information as to her husband's whereabouts. Chris-tina allowed investigators to seize her personal journal, which included entries she made after he fled."
But Hudson admitted that Christina Laurean's decision not to testify against her husband made it harder to build the case against Laurean.
"Admittedly, I am troubled that she refused to testify against her husband during his trial in Goldsboro. However, that is her legal right under our laws in that a spouse is not compellable to testify against her husband. Her refusal to testify made it extremely more difficult for us to prove that her husband was guilty of the murder of Maria Lauterbach."
Laurean is serving a life sentence. As part of its extradition agreement with the U.S., Mexico required that Laurean not face the death penalty.