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NC Supreme Court rejects Laurean appeal

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RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- A ruling by the NC Supreme Court will allow a wrongful death lawsuit against a former Marine convicted in the death of a pregnant colleague to proceed.

Cesar Laurean was convicted by a jury in August 2010 of first-degree murder in the bludgeoning death of 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. He is serving a life sentence.

Court officials said Monday's decision will allow a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Lauterbach family against Laurean and his now-former wife to move forward. The litigation was stayed last year until after Laurean's chances at appeal could be determined.

Laurean's appeal claimed his constitutional rights were violated by a judge who didn't allow the jury to consider second-degree murder as a possible verdict based on a lack of evidence of premeditation.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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