CLINTON, N.C. — A Marine at Camp LeJeune, N.C., who was convicted of murdering a pregnant colleague did not get help from his wife in the killing or in eluding capture, a prosecutor said Tuesday, adding that the wife helped authorities track down and arrest her husband.
District Attorney Dewey Hudson said Christina Laurean submitted to multiple interrogations and provided DNA samples, and was seen in public at times that cleared her of suspicion in the slaying of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach in 2007.
Christina Laurean also didn’t help her husband, Cesar, when he fled to his native Mexico weeks after clubbing Lauterbach to death with a crowbar and burning her corpse in a backyard fire pit.
Cesar Laurean was convicted of first-degree murder in August and sentenced to life in prison. He was born in Guadalajara but moved with his family to Las Vegas more than 10 years ago.
Hudson said he decided to issue a statement because the Marine Corps had ordered Christina Laurean not to speak and she would not defend herself against accusations. Her husband’s defense attorney suggested during the trial that Christina Laurean might have been involved in the slaying.
Authorities had described Christina Laurean as a cooperating witness and never charged her with any crime. But her involvement in the case has never been fully explained. She chose not to testify at her husband’s murder trial.
A North Carolina rule prevents prosecutors from using spousal communications, so that information was never shared with jurors.
In December, Lauterbach’s family named Cesar and Christina Laurean as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Laureans and Lauterbach were all Marines based at Camp Lejeune at the time of the killing in 2007.
Lauterbach, from Vandalia, Ohio, and Cesar Laurean had been assigned to the same logistics unit.
Lauterbach had accused Cesar Laurean of raping her, then recanted her claim that he was responsible for impregnating her. DNA tests revealed that Laurean wasn’t the father. Lauterbach was in her third trimester of pregnancy when she disappeared.
Prosecutors said Cesar Laurean killed to remove the threat of a trial on rape or other sex charges that could sink his military career.
Cesar Laurean claimed Lauterbach killed herself but that he buried the body while in a panic. He fled the Camp Lejeune area in January 2008 after leaving his wife a farewell note that Christina Laurean turned over to investigators hours after he fled. Information in the note helped detectives uncover Lauterbach’s body and start a manhunt for Cesar Laurean.
Detectives said during Cesar Laurean’s months in Mexico that his wife stayed in contact by e-mail and a social-networking site at the request of investigators.