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NC appeals court upholds case of murdered Lejeune Marine

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A North Carolina appeals court is upholding the first-degree murder conviction of a former Camp Lejeune Marine who killed his pregnant colleague, then burned and buried her body in his backyard.

The state Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday against attorneys for Cesar Laurean, who was convicted in 2010 for killing Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach of Vandalia, Ohio, in 2007. Laurean fled Jacksonville and was arrested three months later in Mexico. He's serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Laurean's attorneys argued jurors should have been allowed to consider a lesser charge.

Defense lawyers said jurors also should have heard that Lauterbach's accusation that Laurean raped her may have come
because he disciplined her for mistakes. The court ruled such evidence was not relevant and was properly excluded.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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