Man accused of killing SIU student takes the stand - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Man accused of killing SIU student takes the stand

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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. -- The man charged with murdering an SIU student explains his side of the story.

Gaege Bethune and Pravin Varughese got into a fight in the early morning hours of Feb. 13, 2014, but just how that fight got started is at the center of Bethune’s trial.

Bethune took the stand Tuesday to explain what happened that night.

A lot of what Bethune said on the stand mirrored some statements he’s made to police in the past, but prosecutors asked him dozens of times, going over each individual statement made to police, if he lied about those statements.

Bethune’s testimony came after the state rested it’s case in the morning.

Bethune’s attorney, Mike Wepsiec, also asked for a directed verdict of not guilty but the judge denied it.

A few people at the party Pravin was at that night testified, along with some investigators, but then came Bethune’s testimony in the late afternoon.

Bethune spoke quietly throughout, mumbling through some answers as the prosecutor grilled him about previous police interviews.

Bethune admitted that he made some stuff up initially.

"I was 19. I was scared. I thought I might get a DUI," Bethune said.

He said there was no scuffle over gas money, and Varughese threatened to attack him with a knife after Bethune told him to leave, although he wasn’t sure if there actually was a knife.

Bethune’s testimony is expected to continue Tuesday.

His attorney said he’ll also call Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Martin back to the stand.

He testified last week about his interaction with Bethune shortly after the fight, but Bethune’s attorney says he didn’t do his job and didn’t go look for a body someone told him was there.

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