Home > Crime > Cesar Lauren Day 4 of Testimony

Cesar Lauren Day 4 of Testimony


UPDATE # 2 AT 4:20 PM!


We heard from 13 additional witness for the prosecution bringing us to a total of 35.

Laurean enters court

We spent a major portion of the day entering items and photos into evidence.  This coupled with the chain of custody testimony is always the most difficult part to sit through, but it is necessary.

The real damning evidence that came out was from Laurean friend, Dennis Ward.  He told Laurean, from childhood knowledge, how to build a fire pit and went shopping for the cinder blocks and wheelbarrow with Laurean.  He also was given the crowbar which ultimately was the murder weapon!

Special Agent Steven Combs, SBI took us through the photos of the garage and it’s contents.  The amount of blood spatter was pretty horrific indicating two things:  1) try as he might, Laurean’s attempt to clean-up was dismal at best, 2) he must have given Maria one heck of a brutal beating!

The final thing I learned yesterday is gavel-to-gavel coverage apparently has different meanings in different states!

9:35 Court resumes

Donnie Worrell, OCSO takes the stand.  Chain of custody testimony again.  He identifies items he transported to the SBI – the femur, crowbar and blood swabs,

He’s done and defense has no questions.

Alice Green-Guy is next.  She worked at SBI and does more chain of custody testimony!

Defense has no questions.

T.J. Cavanaugh is called, OCSO, criminal investigator.  He put out a BOLO in Laurean’s truck on January 11.  BOLO is “Be on the lookout”.  It was issued after he met with Christina Laurean.

He also collected DNA cheek swabs from Dennis and Samantha Ward.  Chain of custody testimony.

He found the Lowe’s receipt at Laurean’s house, date 12/16/07 and time stamped at 4:45pm.

Defense – was there more than one BOLO?  Yes.

Was there a BOLO in place for Maria Lauterbach’s car?  Yes sir, issued by Ohio.  It gave her address as Sgt. Durham’s house and indicated she might have bi-polar issues.

He steps down.

Patrick Garvey is called.  Deputy Sheriff, OCSO.  Crime Investigation Unit.  Additional chain of custody info, swabs and the femur, crowbar, etc.

Garvey was the officer who received all the items back from the technicians who did the testing on the items, so we have come full circle!

10:04 they’ve lost the sound!!!!!!

I see Garvey step down.

A witness has taken the stand, but who knows, who it is, or what he is testifying to!  The length of his comments makes me think this is pretty important scientific testimony, more than likely DNA or prints!

The feed is just SO unacceptable.

OK, I got ticked and shot-off an email!  Here’s the response:

We’re aware of the problem, and our engineers are working on it.

Matthew Burns

Senior Web Producer


10:34 the whole feed is dropped now!  They yanked it for the rest of the morning.

I truly want to see justice for Maria and her baby and I want to see Laurean punished for his horrendous crime.  I have followed this case for 3 years and not to be able to hear critical testimony is more than frustrating.  Shame on WRAL!

Twitter updates from WCTI

The state calls Donald Faggart Jr., forensic scientist of Raleigh crime lab, to the stand.

Faggart is considered to be a fingerprint expert.

Faggart: It was hard to ID fingerprints on the car because of weather and surface-area usage.

Faggart could not find fingerprints on Lauterbach’s debit card.

SBI agent Jennifer Elwell on the stand to testify about body fluid identification.

Elwell said she found DNA on the crowbar.

We have yet to find out whom the DNA belongs to!

Christina Laurean, does not want to testify, according to her lawyer.  By law, she does not have to.  The state has released her from subpoena.

2pm and apparently WRAL can’t get their act together because there is no feed.  I’ll be damned if I’ll read a LIVE trial!


WRAL finally came back around 2:25pm

The pillow, raft, crowbar, etc contained Maria’s DNA.  They are entered into evidence.

Sharon Hilton, SBI, cannot identify all the DNA on the handle of the crowbar due to the mix of people who handled the crowbar.  Cesar’s DNA not on murder weapon – wife cannot be excluded.

McNeil asks Hilton to describe how they examine for DNA.  Gloves and such between each item they handle, etc.

Hilton filed 6 different reports.  The first report, April 2008, on the crowbar showed a mixture of known DNA and one unidentified DNA – no Laurean DNA

McNeil goes through all her reports and a lot of the known samples were excluded.  They took a swab from Christina. July 2010 she was asked analyze the handle again and to expedite the analysis.  She could not rule out Christina.

Lee on re-direct asks if an item is cleaned up would it remove DNA?  Yes.

Hilton is released.

The actual crowbar is handed to the jury to look at – it is bagged.

Mary Lauterbach is called.

Dewey Hudson is doing the direct.

He asks where she lives.  Vandalia Ohio.

How do you know Maria?  She was my daughter.

Maria was adopted in June 1989 as well as her sister, Ann

Maria graduated high school 2006 and left within days for boot camp.  She graduated boot camp in September.

Mary identifies 2 photos of Maria and they get admitted into evidence.  Dewey Hudson places them on an easel facing the jury.

Maria traveled home several times for holidays during 2006.

After Maria moved from Paris Island to Jacksonville, NC. Mary and Maria spoke daily by phone.

Maria came home at Easter 2007.  Mary drove her back to Camp LeJeune to save her money and see where Maria lived.  She was still in the barracks at that time.  Maria called Mary on Mother’s Day and told Mary she had been raped the month before.

Mary told her she waited too long as the evidence was gone and she would not get a conviction, but she told Maria she had an obligation to report the rape.

Maria bought the car in June and drove home to show her the car and was there for about a weeklong visit.  Mary identifies a photo of the car,

Maria and Mary both caught the flu and Mary got better, but Maria was very sick.

At the end of June, they found out Maria was pregnant.  In July she flew home and Mary says she was visibly pregnant.  Mary told Maria it would be best for her and the baby if she put the baby up for adoption.

In November she moved in Daniel Durham.  Because of the pregnancy Maria could not come home for Thanksgiving.

December 8 Maria called and said that they had a baby shower for her.  Mary again told her to give the baby up for adoption that upset Maria.  Maria wanted to keep the baby.  She also told Maria not to take the tags off the baby gifts!

Maria did not call the next day.

On the 11th she called to wish her sister Ann, Happy Birthday.  Mary claims Maria was calmer.

On the 14th they spoke and Maria was depressed that she would be alone for Christmas so Mary agreed to go to North Carolina.

Mary was again applying pressure about adoption.  When she got home from work, Ann was on the phone with Dan Durham.  That was when Durham read her Maria’s note that she was leaving.

They repeatedly called Maria, but never got an answer.

She never heard from Maria again.

Mary says Maria had never been to Mexico and she hated buses!

It is my opinion that Mary is not the easiest person to live with.

Recess called.

Housekeeping –

McNeil indicates he wants to question Mary about Maria’s untruthfulness as well as several statements Mary made to law enforcement as well as her statement to Megan Grafton – the NCIS agent who was investigating the rape allegation.

The Judge says opinions, not specific incidents are ok.

Sounds like McNeil is going to be tough on Mary and is angling for character assassination on Maria, part of which is Mary’s fault.

Judge wants the State and defense to work it out.

Dewey objects saying, what are we saying?  Just because she’s not a nice person, it’s NOT ok to kill her…

McNeil now gets to the point – Maria’s bio-parents were dysfunctional so therefore Maria was!

The Judge even says, “She was adopted at 19 months!”

This is going to be tough!

3:47 Mary is back on the stand.

McNeil on cross.

Did Maria have any brothers?  I have a son who is 13.

Did he live with you and Maria at home?  Yes.

You had to sign for Maria to join the Corps?  Yes, she was under age.

Did you tell one officer you thought it was a mistake for Maria joined the Marines?  I don’t recall.

Was Maria taking any medication before joining the Maries?  Nope.

You did not tell Caroline Beers, Maria was on medication?  No, she wouldn’t have been accepted in the Marines?

Were you married when Maria growing up?  Yes, I’ve been married 27 years.

Was her step-father verbally abusive?



Was Maria ever married? No.

Was she ever divorced?



Did you form an opinion as to Maria’s truthfulness?  Maria told the truth, but on occasion she would come up with stories.  It was not constant and as her family we talked about how she was a terrible liar.

What did you tell Mr. Moore at OCSO on the 18th?  I told him Maria was very pregnant, she hasn’t called.  He told me to contact my local police and they would submit a report.

Did you tell him you daughter was a compulsive liar?  Not on the first call.

Did you ever tell him your daughter had a tendency to be a compulsive liar?  I said occasionally not all the time.

When you found out Maria was pregnant did you tell her to give the child up for adoption?

OMG!  Mary goes into her own fertility problems, but finally got around to saying yes.

Did you argue about adoption?  No not at all.

Did she tell you she wanted to leave the Marines?  No.

Leave the Camp LeJeune area?  Not at all.

Do you know anyone in El Paso, Texas?  No.

Anyone need a kidney transplant?  No.

Did you believe Maria could not care for that baby?  I believe she could not give that baby everything it deserves.

Did Maria tell you she was on bed rest?  Yes.

And did you believe that meant she didn’t have to work?  I believe she was on reduced hours.

McNeil keeps coming around to if the son, Edward, is ok and the State keeps objecting and the Judge keeps sustaining.

How did Maria handle money?



Did she tell you she was having money problems?  No she wouldn’t want me to know…she painted a rosy picture.

Were you aware she was behind on her rent?  Yes I spoke to Dan Durham.

Were you aware she had car insurance problems?



You were pretty close to her?  Yes.

She ever tell you about any of her boyfriends?



She ever tell you who the father was?  No.

Just the person who raped her?  Yes.

Did Maria ever create fantasies in her mind?



Did she ever tell you she was on suicide watch and couldn’t leave the base?



On the 14th did she tell you she didn’t want to go to a Christmas party because the person who attacked her would be there?  Yes.

Mary steps down and now there is a bench conference!

All I can say is holy cow on so many levels!

Offer of proof for all the objections sustained which will take the rest of the day and the judge removes the cameras from the courtroom!

So, we’re out of here!

  1. tezi
    08/17/2010 at 3:07 pm

    donchais, thank you for your hard work on this trial! I have dial-up, so I am unable to watch it.

    WRAL needs to get their poop in a group here!

  2. Ritanita
    08/17/2010 at 10:57 pm

    It WAS such a frustrating day trying to watch the trial. I am glad that we got to hear Mary’s testimony. You were very kind to her. My personal opinion is a tad more negative. I’ll keep it to myself, but I wonder if her opinion about Maria’s birth parents was then transferred to their daughter. I can’t think of another reason she would have told LE that she was bi-polar and a compulsive liar. At the time she was missing, I could never understand why she told that to LE. In all, she sent my hinky meter into the red zone.

    I suppose we’ll have to wait until tomorrow (fingers crossed about the feed) to find out which questions, if any will be allowed.

    Dewey DID say it best. Character flaws are not a legitimate reason to murder someone. The defense will try and besmirch her character, and it won’t make a bit of difference.

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