Investigators detail the final time Varughese was seen alive - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Investigators detail the final time Varughese was seen alive

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- Investigators took the stand Thursday in Gaege Bethune's murder trial, detailing what they know about the last time Pravin Varughese was seen alive.

Both sides already agree Bethune was driving Varughese around Carbondale around 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2014.

It's a drive that ended on Route 13 in Carbondale, east of Buffalo Wild Wings.

Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Martin testified Thursday.

He pulled up to the scene after he noticed Bethune's hazard lights flashing.

Martin said Bethune came up to his car, explained that a "black hitch hiker" had attacked him after he offered the man a ride home.

After flashing his light down towards the creek a few times, Martin told Bethune to leave.

The defense questioned why Trooper Martin didn't do more to look for the hitch hiker, and also pointed out Bethune cooperated the entire time.

His lawyer also made the same point regarding Bethune's first interview with Carbondale detectives.

Saline County deputies tracked Bethune down at his home Feb. 17, 2014, four days after the fight, and brought him in for questioning.

Bethune described the fight as a "light scuffle" after 30 minutes of driving aimlessly around Carbondale, looking for cocaine.

"I was scared for my life," Bethune said during the police interview.

Bethune said Varughese threw a punch at him inside the truck after asking him about directions multiple times, according to the police interview.

The defense argues Bethune was just giving Varughese a ride home.

Bethune also said Varughese ran off into the woods afterward, where police found him the morning after Bethune's interview.

Prosecutors also went over call logs from Varughese with Carbondale police officer Brandon Weisenberger, who was a detective at the time.

They verified Varughese was looking for cocaine that night, and that his last phone call ended at 12:31 a.m., shortly after the fight with Bethune.

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