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Ex-Marine convicted of killing colleague feels wrath of victim's mom

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Guilty verdict in death of Marine
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Victim's mother has harsh words for convicted killer
  • The former U.S. Marine sentenced to life in prison without parole
  • He was convicted in the death of a female Marine, who was pregnant
  • Attorney for ex-Marine Cesar Laurean says his client will appeal
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(CNN) -- A former Marine who was convicted of killing a pregnant female colleague felt the wrath of the victim's mother.

"I think you failed in your performance as a Marine. I think you failed in your responsibilities to your fellow Marines. I think you failed in your responsibilities to your family. I think you failed in your responsibilities to God," said Mary Lauterbach, whose daughter Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was killed by former Marine Cesar Laurean.

The heartbroken mother got to address Laurean during her victim impact statement Monday, the families' lawyer said.

Laurean was convicted Monday in North Carolina of first-degree murder in the 2007 death of Lauterbach, who was eight months' pregnant when she died.

An autopsy showed that Lauterbach, 20, died of blunt-force trauma to the head. Police unearthed her charred body from beneath a barbecue pit in Laurean's backyard in January 2008. She had disappeared the month before.

Mary Lauterbach addressed the gruesome circumstances of her daughter's death during her statement.

"We will never have the opportunity to see and hold Gabriel, Maria's unborn child," Mary Lauterbach said. "You have taken all of that away from us. You have taken Maria's life and then you desecrated her even more by trying to burn her body in your own backyard. Cesar Laurean, when you destroyed Maria's life, you destroyed your own life."

Laurean, who was dressed in black slacks and wore a white shirt and black tie, did not show any emotion as the judge read his sentence of life in prison without parole. He either said or mouthed something to someone in the audience of the courtroom before being led out in handcuffs, video footage showed.

Laurean and Lauterbach were stationed together at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

North Carolina prosecutors alleged Laurean killed Lauterbach on December 14 and used her ATM card 10 days later before fleeing to Mexico. Laurean was arrested there in April 2008. He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico.

Before her death, Lauterbach told the Marines that Laurean had raped her. Laurean denied it and disappeared just a few weeks before a scheduled rape hearing at Camp LeJeune. CNN affiliate WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported Lauterbach later recanted the rape allegation.

The DNA of Lauterbach's unborn child did not match that of Laurean, according to law enforcement personnel.

Onslow County Chief Assistant District Attorney Ernie Lee said in his closing argument that Laurean needed to kill Lauterbach to salvage his military career, WRAL reported.

"I can get rid of my problem," Lee said to explain what Laurean might have been thinking, reported WRAL.

Authorities found Lauterbach's body after Laurean's wife, Christina, produced a note her husband had written claiming the 20-year-old woman slit her own throat during an argument, according to officials.

Although a gaping 4-inch wound was found on the left side of Lauterbach's neck, autopsy results indicated that the wound itself would not have been fatal and may have occurred after death.

Laurean's attorney said his client would appeal the decision.

CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

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