Marine facing NC murder charge wants new venue - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Marine facing NC murder charge wants new venue

Caesar Laurean Caesar Laurean

  JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A 22-year-old former Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague near his North Carolina base has asked to have the trial moved out of Onslow County.

In a motion filed last month, defense attorney Dick McNeil cites statements by District Attorney Dewey Hudson and Sheriff Ed Brown, as well as extensive media coverage as reasons for the move.

"There have been many public comments by various state officials, especially Sheriff Ed Brown, that create an inflammatory setting in which no defendant can receive a fair trial," McNeil writes in the motion. "The pre-trial publicity in this case has been pervasive and as we gradually approach trial, it will not subside."

Hudson and Brown did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The motion asks the court to move the trial to another county within the prosecutorial district or to a county agreed to by both parties.

Cesar Laurean is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio, whose burned body was found buried behind Laurean's house. Lauterbach was about eight months pregnant when she died, but DNA tests revealed that Laurean wasn't the father.

Laurean fled to Mexico shortly before her charred remains were found buried in his backyard in Jacksonville in January 2008. He was arrested in April 2008, and extradited to North Carolina earlier this year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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