Laurean, June 8, 2009 -- Courtesy: WRAL
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A ruling by the N.C. 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 the decision handed down last week allows a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Lauterbach's 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.