A North Carolina sheriff says a Mexican court has approved returning a Marine Corps corporal charged with the brutal murder of pregnant colleague to the United States.

Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown said Thursday he expects to have Cpl. Cesar Laurean in his custody in about a week. But both the prosecutor and Laurean's attorney said it may be several weeks at the earliest before he returns.

Prosecutors have charged Laurean with first-degree murder in the slaying of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach. The 20-year-old from Vandalia, Ohio, was eight months pregnant when she was killed late last year.

Laurean fled to Mexico as the search was under way for Lauterbach, and was arrested there in April. As part of an agreement with Mexican authorities, he will not face the death penalty in North Carolina.