Intern stole documents in slain Marine case

August 15, 2008 2:23:17 PM PDT
Undercover agents say they busted a college intern for stealing documents in the Maria Lauterbach murder case, while working inside the Onslow County D.A.'s office.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office says the former intern tried to sell the documents for a large sum of money.

"It's embarrassing to me," Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson said. "It's embarrassing to the judicial system."

An intern inside his office is accused of stealing documents in the murder case of pregnant Marine Maria Lauterbach.

"He had not authority to release it to anyone," Hudson said.

Robert Sharpe, 33, a former Marine and UNC-Wilmington student allegedly made additional copies related to the case and posted confidential detail in a blog.

That got the attention of investigators looking into leaks in the case against Marine Corporal Cesar Laurean.

An undercover officer contacted a local reporter, claiming to be a reporter with Newsweek magazine asking for source information. A search of Sharpe's home and car netted 6,000 pages of files and 30 CDs -- documents investigators say Sharpe wanted the Newsweek reporter to pay for.

"I regret this man took this course in life, but I'm glad that we were there to disrupt it," Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said.

But is the damage already done to a case that led authorities on an international manhunt in Mexico.

Prosecutors say strained Mexican-U.S. relations have delayed Laurean's extradition to the U.S. The latest incident doesn't help.

"I don't want the Mexican government to think something corrupt is going on here," Hudson said.

Laurean's attorney said it could be grounds for a change of venue if the case makes it to trial.

Meanwhile, Sharpe is out on bond charged with embezzlement and misdemeanor larceny. He's expected to begin school this fall and has a court appearance Monday, August 18.


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