Last Weeks News
Cesar Laurean Returns to Face the Music
Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean, 22, was extradited to face a murder charge in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach arriving in Wilmington on a Delta flight from Atlanta and driven in a van to the Onslow County jail where he was booked at 9PM. Laurean fled Jacksonville just before authorities pounced on him for the butchering death of the fellow Marine he raped months earlier. Maria Lauterbach was 9 months pregnant when Laurean supposedly stabbed her to death in his house. It is believed that once Ms. Lauterbach suffered the life ending trauma, the baby she was carrying came into this world because of the trauma. Authorities said that the baby looked as if it was manipulated as to appear it was resting in its mothers arms when the two were discovered burned in a pit in Laurean's backyard.
In a negotiation with the Mexican authorities for Laurean's extradition, the US promised not to execute Laurean for the murder of Ms. Lauterbach. Nobody said anything about executing him for the death of the baby. Autopsy results may show that the baby was born alive. If so, he will be tried for the baby's murder as well. An offense worthy of the death penalty.
We can all hope justice will be served on these two deaths.
For immediate updates and commentary from Jacksonville go to the blogsite of one of the best investigative crime reporters in the business. http://onslowcrime.encblogs.com
UPDATE ON DATELINE
The Blue Line Radio has received several tips regarding these two murders as a result of Friday night's Dateline broadcast. According to the Star News the Wilmington Police received over 30 tips. Hopefully this information can be used to bring the killer or killers to justice.
This Friday, April 10: Help us solve an unfolding investigation!
from Dateline NBC
On Friday at 10 p.m. (WECT-TV6), viewers will be taken inside an unfolding investigation like never before. Dateline's Emmy Award winning producer, Shane Bishop, searched the country to assemble a team of law enforcement professionals to roll up their sleeves and work together to help solve two perplexing murders in North Carolina. Relying on insight, experience and instinct, Dateline's "Unsolved Case Squad" pieces through the evidence, discusses possible suspects and weighs theories about an unknown killer who so far has eluded justice.
The Unsolved Case Squad examines the findings of the Wilmington Police Department and that of the Blue Line Radio's host Marc Benson who had been retained as a private investigator, by the family of Allison Foy, to find the killer. The WPD and Marc offer their insight into the murders as well as their impressions on who might be their prime suspect.
Correspondent Josh Mankiewicz and law enforcement veterans Dwayne Stanton, Yolanda McClary and Alan Jackson come together to try and get to the truth behind the murders of Allison Foy and Angela Rothen, two mothers that went missing a year apart before their bones were found together last year in a wooded area near Wilmington, N.C. Stanton is a retired homicide detective from Washington, D.C. who investigated Chandra Levy's murder; McClary is a Las Vegas crime scene investigator who served as a model for a character on the hit series, "C.S.I.;" and Jackson is a prosecutor in Los Angeles who specializes in high-profile cases.
After the program, make sure to check out dateline.msnbc.com for web-exclusive videos and photos and to submit tips in the investigation.
The show is online, watch it in its entirety here
Got a comment, visit our blogsite and express yourself.
COUNCIL PLANNING ON CUTTING POLICE SERVICES
With crime poking its way into our neighborhoods and the revolving door letting bad guys back on the street we have long been used to the ever vigilant men and woman of the Wilmington Police Department to patrol our neighborhoods and roadways. And now with more and more people becoming desperate, with employment at an all time high, city council is planning on removing 10 patrol officers off the streets. Not smart!
Join with Marc in contacting these council members and let them know safety is important, very important.
Read Marc's letter to the Wilmington City Council by clicking here.
Council Members email can be found here.
THIS JUST IN
Wilmington council trip costs taxpayers more than $19,000
"Most city attendees stayed in the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in downtown Washington, D.C., for $285 a night.
The tab for dinner for 10 at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House came to $497 and included two orders of filet mignon with shrimp for $43 each and a “sin cake” dessert for $9. Dinner for 12 at Georgia Brown’s cost $562 and included two “surf and turf” meals at $31 a piece and two “devil shrimp” meals at $29 each."
The receipts (from Star News) show an order of Fried Chicken @ $22.00. I believe I'd have settled for Bojangles and saved the taxpayers $15. This is why 10 police officers will be let go, wasteful spending.
Officer Responding to Alarm Shot at on Tanbridge
Wilmington Police Officer HB Newton was responding to a house alarm at the 600 block of Tanbridge (new development behind Mayfaire, homes in the $400,000 range) where according to police reports gathered over the past 180 days is a neighborhood of frequent break-ins and larcenies from a vehicle. While making a check of the alarm complaint, officer Newton was approached by an older model black, 2 door Honda Civic hatchback with two occupants traveling at a high rate of speed. As the vehicle approached a shot was fired and then again once the car passed another shot was fired supposedly in the direction of Newton.
Newton attempted to give chase and other officers responded to the area, one officer stopping a vehicle matching the description on Eastwood that was later proven to be unrelated to the crime.
Shooters still at large, vehicle not recovered as of posting. White male passenger discribed as having long dark hair, and a mustache, possibly in his 30's.
Radio traffic audio (edited)
Neighborhood Police Report
THE SPOKESPERSON FOR THE NC "EDUCATION" LOTTERY ALSO PLAYS A THIEF, GO FIGURE
Governor Beverly Perdue is robbing the Lottery's trust fund robbing thousands of children of their educational needs that were established by the legislature when the bill was passed allowing the State to enter into the gambling business. We should have seen it coming when the spokesperson in the many lottery commercials run to encourage us to "play" the lottery so we can help the kids, meanwhile the spokesperson plays a burglar in several CPI Security commercials.
Oh the irony.
State Representative Carolyn Justice says the governor's decision to take lottery funds has left some North Carolina school districts in distress.
The $50 million in the Education Lottery Reserve Fund was supposed to pay for school construction costs, some for this school year.
The Pender County Republican says that's going to hurt local school districts.
"If those counties already issued bonds planning on that money to pay their debt, they're in trouble right now. And this hasn't even become solidified yet--just the first overtures here are not looking good for us locally."
Justice says Governor Beverly Purdue's withdrawal was one of many unfavorable options for trying to balance the state budget.
Mecklenburg County State Rep. Thom Tillis cosponsored House Bill 518, which would strip the "education" portion out of the lottery name.
Tillis said he and others formed the bill because Gov. Beverly Perdue said she plans to pull $50 million to $70 million from the Education Lottery Reserve Fund to pay for things other than education. He argues even if a portion of the lottery money is paying for things other than education, it shouldn't be called an education lottery.
The North Carolina lottery is here to stay after the state Supreme Court on last Friday deadlocked over a suit challenging the way the games were enacted.
In a one-paragraph filing, the court said it had split 3-3 on the issue. A seventh justice, Mark Martin, recused himself.
The tie means a lower court's ruling in favor of the lottery remains in place.
Courts are still soft on speeders
DAs, judges work around new laws
By Mandy Locke and David Raynor, Staff Writers News & Observer
In the 16 months since legislators tried to close loopholes that let the fastest speeders avoid harsh penalties, some judges and prosecutors have ignored the new laws or found ways around them.
Nearly 12 percent of those charged with driving more than 25 mph over the speed limit got breaks that legislators tried to outlaw, according to records from the Administrative Office of the Courts. Prosecutors since December 2007 have been forbidden from allowing those speeders to blame their indiscretion on broken speedometers; also, they forbid judges from granting "prayers for judgment continued," a forgiveness of sorts, in these cases.
Across the state, the rate at which these high-speed drivers were found guilty as charged hasn't improved. In most districts, there was a surge in another type of deal: reducing the charge to 10 mph or less over the limit. That break spares insurance rate increases and points on a driver's record.
Sen. Tony Rand, a Fayetteville Democrat who helped shepherd the legislation in 2007, was flabbergasted.
"What do they want me to do? Pass another bill this session saying I really meant the one we passed in 2007?" Rand said after being presented with the findings of a News & Observer analysis.
The legislature's action in 2007 followed an N&O series that found speeders are rarely punished in North Carolina. Overall, only about 17 percent of speeders are found guilty as charged; that rate didn't change after the law did. Conviction rates are even lower for the fastest drivers.
North Carolina courts have long been overwhelmed by the volume of speeding tickets. Since December 2007, law enforcement officers ticketed more than 779,562 speeders. In some district courts, hundreds of drivers report each morning seeking painless resolution to their ticket. Prosecutors and judges oblige, saying they don't have the resources to try even a handful of speeding cases a day.
All the while, North Carolinians continue to die in speed-related crashes. Across the state, an average of more than eight people died each week in speed-related crashes, according to the UNC Highway Safety School. That's a slight reduction from 2006.
A Highway Patrol spokesman said he is disappointed. "The Highway Patrol will continue to work hard to make a difference on our highways," said Capt. Everett Clendenin. "We hope the courts will join us in our effort."
In almost all districts, judges and lawyers granted concessions since 2007 that the legislature had banned. Some have done it more regularly than others. In Johnston County, which has seen a rash of speed-related crashes involving teenagers, 94 drivers caught speeding more than 25 mph over the limit were found guilty of having a broken speedometer -- a break legislators say they outlawed in 2007.
In Wake County, judges granted 362 prayers for judgment continued, a resolution that, in effect, wards off insurance and driving record penalties.
In the Triangle:
In Johnston County, a trooper clocked Alexander Michael Green, then 16, driving 80 mph in a 55 mph zone on a rural highway in January 2008. Three months later, a prosecutor granted a request from his attorney to plead guilty to having a broken speedometer. In August of 2008, the Smithfield teenager was ticketed for traveling 75 mph in a 55 mph zone. Again, he pleaded guilty to improper equipment.
In Wake County, a Raleigh police officer stopped Susan Lynn Deyton speeding through a school zone at 52 mph as school let out. In court, the prosecutor dismissed the speeding charge and changed it to reckless driving, enabling Wake District Court Judge Shelley Desvouges to grant a prayer for judgment.
A state trooper stopped Amanda Gray Ennis, then 16, in September, clocking her at 96 mph on Interstate 40 in Johnston County. Prosecutors agreed to let Ennis plead guilty to improper equipment -- the broken speedometer strategy.
The Division of Motor Vehicles, which logs speeding convictions, caught about 176 of the cases resolved in violation of the new law. But 160 of those speeders returned to court and negotiated other kinds of breaks, said DMV spokeswoman Marge Howell.
The new law specifies that drivers charged with going more than 25 mph over the limit are not eligible for certain concessions. But Robert Rader, Wake County chief District Court judge, said prosecutors can issue new charges in court, striking what the officer issued on the road.
Rader said he would send a memorandum to Wake County's District Court judges about the matter.
"It concerns me that some people have possibly gotten concessions beyond what they may deserve," Rader said Friday.
In 2008, Johnston District Attorney Susan Doyle began mandating that young drivers charged with speeding attend a driving school to receive a break on a ticket. She was trying to address the rash of teen fatalities.
She noted that the improper equipment pleas for high-rate speeders were a small share of all speeding tickets Johnston County courts handled.
"This was less than 1 percent of the total speeding cases filed in Johnston County in 2008," Doyle said. "It is important to treat repeat speeding offenders very seriously, since speed can kill. At the same time, it is also important to encourage drivers to take that extra step to complete beneficial driving schools in order to save lives."
Even legislators who helped tighten the laws were skeptical about the state's ability to press harder on speeders. Tickets can cost drivers big. Their insurance spikes; they could lose their licenses. As long as those pressures exist, court officials say, speeders and their attorneys will be shopping for bargains.
"Any charge is met with a corresponding attempt to avoid it," Rand said. "But the big question is, does anybody else care? I'm not sure they do."
Staff writer Sarah Nagem and news researcher Denise Jones contributed to this report.
email@example.com or 919-829-8927
Judges had been granting prayers for judgment continued to nearly 60 percent of speeders in fiscal year 2006. That rate has dropped dramatically, with only 12 percent of speeders granted prayers for judgment in fiscal 2008. Since then, that rate has dropped to 1.4 percent.
The problem: The district has seen a dramatic increase in speeders granted reductions to less than 10 mph over the limit. In fiscal 2006, practically none were resolved that way. So far this year, prosecutors have given these reductions to a third of speeders.
District Attorney J. Douglas Henderson did not return several calls for comment.
New Hanover and Pender
Prosecutors had been granting improper equipment pleas to half of the speeders exceeding 90 mph. That rate has dropped slightly since 2006.
In New Hanover County, however, prosecutors granted 93 improper equipment pleas to speeders who exceeded the limit by more than 25 mph.
District Attorney Ben David said that in the vast majority of these cases, the drivers were required to complete a driving course before getting this break. Others, he said, "we candidly dropped the ball." He said he would address the matter with his assi stant district attorneys.
Prosecutors dismissed 47 percent of speeding tickets in fiscal year 2006. That rate dropped to 16 percent in 2008.
Reductions to speeding under 10 mph over the limit increased, however. In 2006, only 8 percent of speeders received this break. In 2008, 26.5 percent did.
District Attorney Ed Grannis did not return a call for comment.
THE REMAINS OF PAMELA WALDHER HAVE BEEN FOUND IN HARNETT COUNTY ...ANOTHER YOUNG COUNTY WOMAN REMAINS MISSING
Pamela Waldher went missing January 2005. Her story can be found on NC WANTED and on our blog site crime.blogs.com.
On January 5, 2006 Harnett County resident Susan Renee Andersen, 19, did not come home from work. Her family has not heard from her since. The Harnett County Sheriff's Office claim they spoke with someone purporting to be Susan in May of 2006. The Harnett investigators closed the case after that even though they did not have any proof of life that would have required law enforcement to visually identify her. The CUE Center for Missing Person's was recently asked, by the Andersen family, to help in the search for their missing daughter. Since CUE's involvement in July the Sheriff 's Office has reopened the missing person case. After that, the Sheriff's Office has refused to respond to repeated phone calls and email messages. The family assumes the investigators have failed to locate Susan or any one who has seen her since she failed to return home after work January 5, 2006. CUE Center Press Release