Suspect in Killing of Pregnant Marine Could Face Federal Unborn Victims Law

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Suspect in Killing of Pregnant Marine Could Face Federal Unborn Victims Law Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 15,

Jacksonville, NC ( — If he’s found guilty, the man who authorities think is responsible for killing a pregnant Marine could be subjected to a federal law that provides justice when a pregnant woman and her unborn child are killed or injured. Currently, authorities are trying to find the suspect, Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean.

Laurean is accused of killing Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child after Lauterbach accused Laurean of sexually abusing her. Officials found the bodies of Lauterbach and her unborn child in Laurean’s backyard this weekend.

Authorities on Monday issued a $25,000 reward in the case for information leading to his arrest.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said at a news conference that he thinks Laurean will eventually be captured.
“You’re never gone for good when law enforcement is after you,” Brown said. “It may be two days or two weeks, 10 days or 10 years, but you’re never gone for good.”

If he is found and convicted, the federal unborn victims law could come into play because Laurean and Lauterbach are members of the military. That’s because North Carolina is one of just 15 states that don’t offer legal protection for pregnant women and their unborn children.

The question of whether the federal law can come into play depends on whether Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson has jurisdiction in the case or if the military legal authorities are allowed to prosecute Laurean.

Because Hudson has the crime scene in his jurisdiction it appears state officials will prosecute the crime and it’s doubtful that the military would pursue charges when the civil authority likely has a death penalty case to pursue.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, talked with about the case.

"If in fact the killer was a member of the military then the [federal] Unborn Victims of Violence Act could possibly be used to bring justice on behalf of the baby," he said.

The bill was prompted by the deaths of Laci and Conner Peterson and signed into law by President Bush in 2004. Whether it comes into play, Johnson says it was a great victory for the pro-life movement and NRLC, which helped lead the fight for it.

He told that placing unborn children in law under in these kinds of cases helps establish that they are deserving of legal protection. John added that any discussion of the rights of unborn children, especially in a case like this one that’s receiving national attention, is helpful.