District Attorney Dewey Hudson held a press conference Tuesday afternoon in the Sampson County Courthouse to discuss the case and release new documents that supports Cesar Laurean’s murder conviction and explains what his wife Christina knew about Lauterbach’s death, and of her husband’s escape.
Cesar Laurean was convicted in August of first-degree murder and is serving life without parole. According to reports, Lauterbach, who was eight months pregnant at the time of her murder, was preparing to testify that she was sexually assaulted by a senior Marine at her command at Camp Lejeune. That man was Laurean.
Hudson faced a courtroom full of media during the conference and told them that Christina Laurean will not be charged in the case. He also presented documents that included letters written from Cesar Laurean to his wife while he was a fugitive, hiding in Mexico.
“My office has conducted a very thorough investigation and professional review of the evidence and law,” he said. “We reviewed the complete investigative file, including 1,300 pages of documents discovered in the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office two weeks before the commencement of the trial.”
Hudson explained that his office believed that Christina was guilty of one thing, loving her husband too much. “She voluntarily participated in interviews ... consented to giving DNA samples from her and her daughter ... and assisted law enforcement with an additional search of the residence,” he said. “There is no evidence that Christina provided any material assistance to her husband. Specifically, there was no evidence that Christina provided any food, shelter, clothing or money to Cesar Lauren or provided any helpful information to him about the investigation.”
Still investigators confronted Christina about her communications with her husband. “She agreed to assist the investigators with acquiring information as to her husband’s whereabouts,” Hudson said. “Christina allowed investigators to seize her personal journal, which included entries she made after he fled (to Mexico).”
In all, her husband told Christina Laurean at least three different stories about the death of Maria Lauterbach. One suggested that Maria committed suicide, another saying she disappeared, the final one suggesting that she was murdered by a Mexican gangsters.
“As confirmed by jury verdict, there was overwhelming evidence that Cesar Laurean murdered Maria Lauterbach,” Hudson confirmed.
However, Hudson did say that he was “troubled” that Christina refused to testify against her husband during his trial, moved to Goldsboro because of pretrail publicity. “Her refusal to testify made it extremely more difficult for us to prove that her husband was guilty of the murder,” he said. “But that is her right.”
Hudson would later say, “It is something out of a John Grisham novel, only, tragically, it is all true.”
Members of the media, however, were suspicious of the timing of the press conference since Hudson is in the running for a North Carolina Senate seat.
“Why did you feel compelled to come forward now?,” asked one TV news reporter. “There are lingering questions after every murder trial that are not answered that people would love to hear about ... It rarely happens, why is it happening now?”
Undeterred, Hudson, who had earlier admitted to finishing reading through documents just after midnight Tuesday, struck back.
“Why is it happening now? It is because of the blogs on your stations,” he said. “I was never concerned about winning this case until I read some of the blogs on those websites. People were saying ‘he is not guilty, Christina did it’ ... It is not only my job to convict the guilty, it is also my job to explain why some people are innocent. You know through this whole trial, frankly, I had sat there and listened to people like (CNN’s) Nancy Grace and other commentators trash Christina. When I asked her lawyer why she just didn’t go on television to explain her version to them, they told me that she was told that since she was a United States Marine and she had orders to not discuss this case with anyone or she would be court martialed. So you have a woman who everyone is wrongly accusing of a murder and she can’t even defend herself ... that is why I am here today. The jury got it right.”
After more questions, Hudson said, “I am here because this is my job — I am the district attorney today.”
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.