Home > Crime > Cesar Laurean Day 6 of Testimony

Cesar Laurean Day 6 of Testimony


Laurean glances back at his family

Yesterday was the shortest day for testimony, but also the most horrific.

Dr. Thomas Clark reviewed the autopsy results and photos.  Maria death was violent and the subsequent burning of her body and that of the fetus made some findings impossible to determine.

The defense was caught off-guard when the State announced they were finished and rested their case.

They were able to bring in two quick witnesses and as we already surmised, the defense is going to hammer Maria’s reputation.  Judge Smith doesn’t allow much leeway in that area.

9:34 Feed begins!

Renee Carlton – She is a Cmdr in the Navy stationed at Camp LeJeune as a nurse and midwife.  She managed Maria’s pregnancy.

Carlton saw Maria in September, October, and November.

Maria had an ultrasound and they believe she became pregnant mid-to-late May.

Was she placed on bed rest?  No, she wasn’t.

Last time you saw her was November 26th?  Correct.


You had no further contact with Lauterbach after the 26th?  Correct.

Did she have a follow-up visit?  Yes December 26th.

Did she make that appointment?  No.

McNeil asks if she knew a Dr. Freesling (sp?).  No, I do not.

McNeil shows her a record and she says that was a phone consultant for mental health.

Carlton is released.

Next is Carmen Ortega, She was in the Marines from 2004 to 2008. She knew Maria because they were in the same unit they also worked in the same section.  She was responsible for training Maria.

Were you aware there was an allegation…


Bench conference.

McNeil is trying to get on record that Maria allegedly stole money.

Did you here that Lauterbach raised rape allegations against Cesar Laurean?  Correct.

You worked under Cesar Laurean?  Yes.

How would you describe Laurean?  A very motivated Marine.

On December 14 were you told you had to attend a Christmas party?  Yes.

Did you attend?  Yes.

Did you see Lauterbach at the party?  Yes.

What time? 6 –6:30.

After Maria was reassigned did you ever see Laurean and her together?

Were you aware of Lauterbach reputation for truthfulness?  She was not truthful.

Were you aware of the protective order?  Yes.

Were you ever interviewed by NCIS?  Yes.

Onslow Count Sheriff’s Office?  No.

Did you ever hear of Maria having a baby shower?  No.

She is released!

I like McNeil, but this is not much of a defense, but the again, he has nothing to work with!

Next McNeil asks for some housekeeping so Judge Smith asks the jury to step out.

McNeil calls WO Carolyn Bier.  Laurean worked in her section, as did Lauterbach.

Money for Christmas decorations went missing and another Marine said he believed Maria had taken the money.  Maria did give it back.

Bier asked why she took the money.  Marie said she wanted the money to visit her brother’s gravesite.  The brother died in a family altercation.

Bier called Mary Lauterbach and this is where Mary told her Maria was a liar and created fantasy.  Bier says the word fantasy stuck out.

Wow, superior officers are tattletales to Marine parents???

Bier sent her to counseling.

Mary also told her that Maria’s bio parent or parents were bi-polar.

Bier doesn’t know if Maria admitted that she lied.

Bier reprimanded her, wrote her up and held her back for promotion for a month due to a lack of integrity.

So this is character assassination that truly has nothing to due with the fact that Laurean brutally murdered her and her baby!

She instructed Laurean to counsel Maria foe behavior and repeated tardiness.

You were aware of the sexual allegation against Laurean?  Yes.

Now she says she asked Maria if she stopped taking her meds and Maria said yes.

McNeil contends this is admissible and wants to delve into the counseling which would prove the sexual allegation was false and she only said Laurean raped her due to counseling.

Ernie Lee says, in effect, poppycock and I concur!

Judge Smith rules she can be asked about her rank, years in the Corps, the victim and defendant worked in her section and that Laurean counseled her.

The general info can come in, but not the character assassination!!!!!

Jury returns!

WO Bier is called and sworn in.

She is pretty much a worthless witness now with the Judge’s ruling.

Bier is released and court is recessed.

McNeil says he only has 2 more witnesses!  Closing arguments should be this afternoon!

The defense calls Special Agent Megan Grafton.  She was assigned to investigate the rape allegation for NCIS.

She met with Maria May 11th about the alledeged assault.  She also met with her on the 27 and Grafton found out she was pregnant.

An MPO was issued?  Yes sir.

Are both parties required to report any violations of the order?  Yes sir.

You worked on the case up January 2009?  Yes the case was open until the DNA came in.

Were any charges made against Laurean by command?  No sir.

She told you she was pregnant due to the assault?  Yes sir.

Were you aware there was a paternity test?  Yes sir.

Did you notify the defendant’s wife of the DNA results?  Yes sir.

Did you type a report?  Yes sir.

Lauterbach was reported missing?  Yes sir.

Did you look over the inventory list of Lauterbach?  Yes sir.

Was there anything in the inventory regarding adoption papers?  No sir.

Any baby shower gifts?  No sir.


What did Pamela Chavis tell you?  She was working at the PX and she say a pregnant blonde Marine and a Hispanic Male Marine.  She identified them as Maria and Laurean.

She was instructed to go to Paul Castle’s office with her partner and they were told to pick up Christina and bring her to Onslow County Sheriff’s Office for an interview.

How did she act that day?  She was crying and visibly upset.

McNeil keeps objecting, judge keeps over ruling.

Grafton recognizes the crowbar from Dennis Ward.

Christina was questioned for about 30-45 minutes long then they moved her to an upstairs room away from media.

Grafton asked her questions about her willingness to continue the interview and whether she was willing to let them search her house to which she said yes.

Did you ask Christina about her husband’s whereabouts?  Yes.

Did you ask about Maria’s disappearance?  Yes.

What did you ask Christina Laurean…..

All kinds of objections and the jury is sent out…

McNeil doesn’t want questions about Christina whereabouts that day.

Judge rules the State can ask if Christina cooperated, but not what she said.

Grafton interviewed Christiana Lauren around 8 times; ending when Laurean was arrested in Mexico and was Christina was cooperative.

Did you request Christina’s cooperation in locating her husband?  Yes.

Did she cooperate?  Yes.

How long did you work the case since Lauterbach went missing until the conclusion of this trial?

Have charges ever been filed against Christina Laurean?  No sir.


Was an Article 32 ever signed?  No.

Det. Cavanagh is recalled.  Lead investigator in the murder case.

You had how many deputies and sheriffs were involved in the investigation?  47 which includes all agencies involved.

Did you obtain any search warrants?  Some.  Other agencies did also.

Great, last freakin witness and WRAL drops coverage!

Feed returns at 2:06pm.

Judge wants jury to hear arguments with jury getting case right away.  There are some issues to work out and he doesn’t like to give a jury a case on a Friday afternoon with a weekend interfering.

Jury released till Monday, 9:30am.

We enter charge conference…

McNeil wants all but the homicide charges dropped.

Judge Smith denies.

Judges reads the pertinent sections of law for jury instructions.

Lots of legal mumbo jumbo going on…

1st degree murder, robbery charge included makes it aggravated murder.  2nd degree murder should not be given to the jury.

State wants premeditated charge.

McNeil, of course, disagrees and says it places an unfair burden on the defendant and feels a jury could reasonably find for 2nd degree.

Judge Smith says the defense hasn’t presented evidence of 2nd degree.

McNeil says its not premeditated because a crowbar in a garage isn’t the usual thing you would think of for a murder.

No lesser will be included.  He will be found guilty or not guilty by the jury!

State wants an instruction on Carolina law about whether a spouse has to testify and hands a copy to the Judge and defense.  Approved.

The burying and burning is evidence of guilt, but Judge isn’t sure if it indicates premeditation and he asks everyone to do some research.

McNeil wants ‘felony’ murder taken out, but all the cases he cites include robbery.  His reason is in this case the robbery occurred a week after the homicide – so it wasn’t one continuous transaction and robbery is an after-thought.

Judge says overruled!

Closing Arguments –

State may want 3 so McNeil says he wants 2.  Judge says I’d give you three.

Judge will not limit time, but asks if they agree both sides can be done in the morning on Monday.

State will argue first and last, Lee first and Dewey last; the defense will go in the middle.

So that’s it for the day, be back 9:30 Monday morning!

  1. Ritanita
    08/20/2010 at 9:22 am

    Sure would like to know who the last defense witness was and what he had to say!

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