03/31/10 — Lawyer seeks delay in Marine's trial

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Lawyer seeks delay in Marine's trial

By From Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on March 31, 2010 1:46 PM

JACKSONVILLE -- The lawyer for a former North Carolina-based Marine accused of killing a pregnant colleague has asked to delay the trial three months because of a knee injury.

In a motion filed on Monday, Richard McNeil said a knee injury he suffered in January has "hampered" his ability to prepare for the trial. McNeil said if the motion is denied, Cesar Laurean's rights to a fair trial will be violated. The trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Laurean is charged with murder in the death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio. He fled to Mexico shortly before her charred remains were found buried in his back yard in Jacksonville in January 2008. He was arrested in April 2008 and extradited to North Carolina last year.

Wayne County will be the site of the June first-degree murder trial.

Laurean is currently in the Onslow County Jail.

He was indicted in January 2008 by an Onslow grand jury on a first-degree murder charge in connection with Ms. Lauterbach's death.

The murder and Laurean's flight have been the subject of local, state and national news coverage.

His attorney filed for the change in venue claiming that pre-trial publicity would keep his client from receiving a fair trial.